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'Art and Peoples of the Kharga Oasis' at the Metropolitan Museum of Art, New York


In 1908, The Metropolitan Museum of Art began to excavate late-antique sites in the Kharga Oasis, located in Egypt's Western Desert. The Museum's archaeologists uncovered two-story houses, painted tombs, and a church. They also retrieved objects that reveal the multiple cultural and religious identities of the people who lived in the region.

'Art and Peoples of the Kharga Oasis' at the Metropolitan Museum of Art, New York

The finds represent a society between the third and seventh centuries A.D., a time of transition between the Roman and early Byzantine periods, which integrated Egyptian, Greek, and Roman culture and art. This exhibition features some 30 works from these excavations.

'Art and Peoples of the Kharga Oasis' at the Metropolitan Museum of Art, New York
Bowl with Floral Motifs, 4th–7th century [Credit: MET]
By grouping objects according to the archaeological context in which they were discovered, the exhibition explores the interpretation of ancient identities and artifacts and shows how archaeological documentation can assist in understanding an object's original function.

'Art and Peoples of the Kharga Oasis' at the Metropolitan Museum of Art, New York
Head of a Female Figurine, 4th–7th century [Credit: MET]
On view are ceramics, ostraca (pottery shards used as writing surfaces), jewelry from burials, glassware, coins, copies of frescoes with early Christian images, and early 20th-century site photography.

Excavations in Kharga Oasis

The Kharga Oasis, located in the Western Desert of Egypt, was an important intersection connecting caravan roads from the Darfur province of Sudan (ancient Nubia) to the Nile Valley, a journey of 1,082 miles. As a result, objects and ideas from across Egypt, Nubia, and the eastern Mediterranean from the Pharaonic to early Byzantine periods made their way to Kharga.

'Art and Peoples of the Kharga Oasis' at the Metropolitan Museum of Art, New York
Fragment of a Stela, 4th century [Credit: MET]
In late antiquity (fourth to seventh century), the region also bore witness to an expansive and vibrant Christian community, evidenced by new sacred spaces and the reuse of forts and temples as churches and monasteries. In 1908, The Metropolitan Museum of Art began excavations of late antique sites in Kharga.

'Art and Peoples of the Kharga Oasis' at the Metropolitan Museum of Art, New York
String of Beads, 4th–7th century [Credit: MET]
The Met's archaeologists uncovered two-story houses, painted tombs, and a church. A selection of objects from these sites are on view in this gallery, revealing the multiple cultural and religious identities of people who lived in the region between the third and seventh centuries, a time of transition between the Roman and Byzantine periods.

'Art and Peoples of the Kharga Oasis' at the Metropolitan Museum of Art, New York
Ointment Jar, 4th–7th century [Credit: MET]
The finds represent a society that integrated Egyptian, Greek, and Roman culture and art. Presenting objects according to the archaeological context in which they were discovered, this exhibition explores these ancient identities and artifacts and demonstrates how archaeological documentation can aid in understanding an object's original function.

'Art and Peoples of the Kharga Oasis' at the Metropolitan Museum of Art, New York
Amulet, 4th–7th century [Credit: MET]
Art and Peoples of the Kharga Oasis has been unfolded on October 11, 2017, and will be running through September 30, 2018, at the Met Fifth Avenue, New York, USA.

Source: Metropolitan Museum of Art [February 14, 2018]

TANN

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