All those that study Ancient Civilizations of Africa are used to seeing Extraordinary works of Art, Literature, Science, and Architecture. At the same time, we are used to seeing these objects of Africa dislocated, isolated and poorly described. The exhibit of the Institute for the Study of the Ancient World of New York University fits into this mode.
The exhibition is conveniently located at 15 east 84th street next to Fifth avenue. The #4, 5, 6 trains take you within minutes of this museum and the MET. The exhibition is also Free to the Public. The Hours are Tuesday–Sunday 11am–6pm Friday 11am–8pm Closed Mondays. There is a Free guided tour every Friday at 6 PM if you register: firstname.lastname@example.org
I toured the Exhibition on first on Friday, May 13th and then again on May 18th. The first piece I encountered was a headless statue of Nwst Akhratan. This of course is a wonderful way to start the exhibition. The will say this was a metaphor of the what I wish to present.
In short, What is Missing? – Meroitic Script, the labeling of the Nubian Peoples, the technology that produced the Metal, Stone and Artwork, the connections of the Deities Khnum, Bes, and Amun and Hathor, a proper timeline of Nubian Kings, Ancient Nubia and more.
I will give the Contents of the Exhibition a 8 because there is no meroitic script but if it was there I would have no choice but to give it a 10.
I give the associated scholarship and information an 6 because though the catalog is a great “Art” Catalog – the associated information is not strong scholarship.
However, it is a Treasure worth seeing and I do thank the organizers for making this work available.
Before I critique the literature surrounding the exhibition, the exhibition, though small shows the extraordinary treasure of an aspect of Nubian civilization.
The Exhibition shows that the Nubians knew well there mineral treasures and took advantage of them in their Art. The Nubians were very skilled craftsman of both pottery and precious metals.
The object labeled: 63Hathor-headed Crystal Pendant
Gold and Rock Crystal, H. 5.4 cm, D. 3.3 cm
El-Kurru, Pyramid 55, 750–720 BC (Napatan Period, Reign of Piye)
Harvard University—Boston Museum of Fine Arts Expedition: 21.321 is a Master Piece. The craftsmanship of Gold laid on this natural Rock Crystal has to be one of the finest treasures ever seen.
There are other almost exceptional pieces but I do not wish to spoil your surprise – and the catalog though it is well done – can not capture what your eyes can see.
My Critique will take a few days and I will continue to attempt to fine tune it over the next few weeks. I apologize, I do not have time for this but I think it is important.
I went to the exhibition because I am continuously in search for information on my work the secretoftheankh.com. My work is a paradigm that allows one to interpret Nile Valley Civilization through the Creation Stories of the Ancient Egyptians. You can read my work for more information. You should also read my article on the Nubia – http://www.secretoftheankh.com/?p=266
Returning to the statue of the headless statue of Nwst Bty Akhratan, the exhibition does not do well in looking at Nubia’s over 8000 year contribution to Nile Valley Civilization and as a Parent to Egypt or Kemet itself.
The exhibition gives a timeline of 8000 years but actually begins with this quote from its catalog. Terminal A-Group and C-Group (ca 3100-1600 bc) The first kingdoms of the Nile Valey Developed in northern Nubia and southern Egypt by 3000 bc. The Nubian Kingdoms called the Terminal A-Group by archeaologists, are known from cemeteries between the 2nd and 1st cataracts. While arguably royal burals are known only at Qustul and possibly Sayala, it appears that these kingsoms traded gold in exchange for oil, wine, and other products from Egypt….
A-Group sites were abandoned soon after 3000 bc as Egyptian armies raided Nubia, captureing thousands of prisoners and sometimes hundreds of thousands of animals. It was not until nearly six hundred years later that the area was resettled bya a culture known as the C-Group whose burals provide littel evidence of existence of royalty or even an elite.
If you are following this is typical revisionist and even stereotypical statements without any evidence to support. The statements can be taken as true very easily by students up to college. There is so much evidence to counter this information but it must always be done. This is unfortunate because statements like this take away from the Beauty of the Exhibition.
First, to put a timeline on Nile Valley Civilization one must begin with the stone tools of the Paleolithic Period and the Neolithic Periods.
You can find more information about the periods and the findings here: http://mummyswrap.com/2010/09/01/periods-in-ancient-egyptian-archaeology-paleolithic/ but the period begins about 300,000 years ago. Most of these artifacts come from Nubia.
In addition the Cave Drawings of Nubia/Egypt are important.
Amateur explorers stumbled across the cave, which includes 5,000 images painted or engraved into stone, in the vast, empty desert near Egypt’s southwest border with Libya and Sudan.
Rudolph Kuper, a German archaeologist, said the detail depicted in the “Cave of the Beasts” indicate the site is at least 8,000 years old, likely the work of hunter-gatherers whose descendants may have been among the early settlers of the then-swampy and inhospitable Nile Valley.
Thanks to a group of Scholars – the Findings of Nabta Playa – which is in Nubia – Show that Egypt or Kmt is a daughter of another civilization of Scientist and Star Gazers. That the Giza plateau was prototyped in Nabta Playa which is in Nubia at least 6,000 years ago.
Most of the artifacts in this exhibit are 25th dynasty and after. So more that 100,000 years of Africans in Nubia and Egypt have simply been left out. The exhibit only mentions the Ancient Civilizations of Nubia but do not mention who they were and the peoples. The exhibition does not even show one piece of Merotic Script – the so called undeciphered script of Nubia. However, recent evidence points that this script was a Lingua Franca among the Nubians and it can be deciphered using Tocharian.
What is extremely important and missing is any reference to the Qustul Incense Burner. The Qustal Incense Burner has the first picture of the White Crown – It is the primary evidence that Egypt borrowed from Nubia rather than the other way around. See Video Qustal Incense Burner – The Incense Burner is 5,000 years old and clearly predates Egypt.
The most problematic part of the exhibition is the descriptions of
the Bes Amulets. In typical European style – they are described as Pataikos amulets. There is no historical relevance given to the God Bes and his ancient relationship to Nubia, nor is Khnum talked about and lastly – the curators attribute Amun in Nubia to its Egypt Relationship. Though the Ram as he is depicted is part of the Nubian worship and was in that region thousands of years before the God Amun/Amen.
The Exhibition should not even be walked through without a reading of the The Nubian Salvage Project: http://oi.uchicago.edu/research/projects/nub/
and this great article:
Then Nabta Playa and Its Role in Northeastern African Prehistory Fred Wendorf Department of Anthropology, Southern Methodist University, Dallas, Texas 75275 and Romuald Schild Institute of Archaeology and Ethnology, Polish Academy of Sciences, Warsaw, Poland. There work can be found here:
Second, the Book – The Origin Map: Discovery of a Prehistoric, Megalithic, Astrophysical Map and Sculpture of the Universe [Paperback] by Thomas G. Brophy should be required reading.
Also a newer work Black Genesis: The Prehistoric Origins of Ancient Egypt [Paperback] Robert Bauval (Author), Thomas Brophy Ph.D. (Author) and of Course Dr. Cheikh Ante Diops two books The African Origin of Civilization and Civilization or Barbarism. To bring it all together the Secret of the Ankh www.secretoftheankh.com will be helpful for cosmological understanding.
The findings in Ancient Nubia become relevant in several important ways. 1) The time line 2) The importance of the Cattle Cult or Hathor and the marriage to Amun 3) The Science and Architecture 4) the Astronomy 5) The Knowledge of its metal and mineral resources.
I will continue in a few days.
You should read the following Blog for more on Nubia from Nubians: