Female Figurine. Egypt, from Ma’mariya. Predynastic Period, Naqada II, circa 3500–3400 B.C.E. Terracotta, painted, 11 1/2 x 5 1/2 x 2 1/4 in. (29.2 x 14 x 5.7 cm). Brooklyn Museum, Charles Edwin Wilbour Fund, 07.447.505
Egyptian Galleries, 3rd Floor
In April, 2003, we completed the reinstallation of our world-famous Egyptian collection, a process that took ten years. Three new galleries joined the four existing ones that had been completed in 1993 to tell the story of Egyptian art from its earliest known origins (circa 3500 B.C.E.) until the period when the Romans incorporated Egypt into their empire (30 B.C.E.–395 C.E.). Additional exhibits illustrate important themes about Egyptian culture, including women's roles, permanence and change in Egyptian art, temples and tombs, technology and materials, art and communication, and Egypt and its relationship to the rest of Africa. More than 1,200 objects—comprising sculpture, relief, paintings, pottery, and papyri—are now on view, including such treasures as an exquisite chlorite head of a Middle Kingdom princess, an early stone deity from 2650 B.C.E., a relief from the tomb of a man named Akhty-hotep, and a highly abstract female terracotta statuette created over five thousand years ago. The title of the installation refers to a central theme of Egyptian life and to the rebirth of Egyptian art here at the Museum. The ancient Egyptians created many of the objects now on view to assist in the process of rebirth from this world to the next. This unifying idea led to an artistic conservatism in Egyptian culture that disguises stylistic changes. The balance between permanence and change is a theme that resonates throughout the installation's seven galleries.
The 2003 phase of Egypt Reborn was made possible by the National Endowment for the Humanities, with additional major support from the National Endowment for the Arts, the Marilyn M. Simpson Charitable Trusts and the Museum's Charles Edwin Wilbour Fund. The 1993 phase was made possible through major grants from the National Endowment for the Humanities and the National Endowment for the Arts; the Booth Ferris Foundation; and the J. M. Kaplan Fund. Generous support was provided by Jack A. Josephson; Christos G. Bastis; and Samuel and Edwin Merrin. Additional funding was provided by the New York State Council on the Arts; Antiquarium Fine Arts Gallery, Ltd.; the Ernest Erickson Foundation, Inc.; Louis D. Fontana; Sotheby's; a donor in memory of Frederick and Helen Nunes, and the Museum's Charles Edwin Wilbour Fund. Research and planning for the 1993 phase were made possible in part, by a generous grant from the Andrew W. Mellon Foundation.