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Obra Social la Caixa presents an unmissable exhibition at CaixaForum Madrid: «Animals and Pharaohs. The animal kingdom in Ancient Egypt«, In which they allow us to enter one of the most fascinating cultures through a new perspective, its fauna, taking advantage of a civilization in which animals had a much more important presence than in other cultures.
Thanks to the cooperation of the Louvre Museum, CaixaForum offers an exhibition (the first of many to come) in which, through 430 archaeological objects, we will delve into daily Egyptian life through its fauna.
The presence of animals in Egyptian art in multiple forms and contexts it is magnificent and is perfectly portrayed in this exhibition. This profusion together with the large number of sacred animal cults led great historians of the past to take them as simple zoolatrists. This is how Clement of Alexandria states it:
«The temples of the Egyptians, their propylees and their courts, are magnificently built; its courtyards are surrounded by columns […]; the naos sparkle with the gleam of gold, silver and electro and precious stones from India and Ethiopia; the sanctuaries, covered with gold embroidered curtains, remain in darkness. But if you advance towards the back of the enclosure and look for the statue to which the temple is dedicated […] What will you see then? A cat, a crocodile, a native snake or any other animal of this type! The God of the Egyptians seems… He is a wild beast that wallows in a purple bed! "
Clement of Alexandria (c. 150-215), The Pedagogue, Book III, Chapter II, cited by Champollion, 1823
This thought continued intact until modern times, when Scientific Egyptology appears and it shows that this religiosity is much more complex than previously thought, reaching a shocking conclusion as CaixaForum shows us: «The Egyptians did not worship animals: they carefully chose animal forms to convert them, by comparison or assimilation, into manifestations of the divine essence accessible to humans. In its representation there is a religious, symbolic or political discourse based on a meticulous and tireless observation of nature«.
The figure of the animal is a pillar of Egyptian religious thought, appropriating them to create images that symbolize them as vehicles.
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The exhibition features nine scopes where the links between man and nature are shown through animals and how they acted as companions, representation of gods or means of transport.
430 pieces Among which we find jewelry, statues, stelae, reliefs, paintings, murals, amulets, chests and 14 mummies of various animals, among which we find cats, lambs, ibis, dogs, fish, hawks, snakes and crocodiles.
The large pieces They also occupy a privileged place within the exhibition, such as the statues of the Royal Sphinx, the Lion lying on one side, and the impressive five-ton granite stone that closes the work, where the baboons that formed the base of the eastern obelisk are represented. from Luxor temple.
Total, the sample brings together 430 works, the vast majority of which come from the Louvre Museum. The list is completed with some loans from other institutions, such as the Bibliothèque centrale des musées nationaux (Paris), the National Museum of Natural Sciences-CSIC (Madrid), the Museu de Ciències Naturals de Barcelona, the Museu de Montserrat and the Museu Egipci from Barcelona.
This exhibition can be visited until next August 23 at CaixaForum Madrid (Paseo del Prado 36).
After studying History at the University and after many previous tests, Red Historia was born, a project that emerged as a means of dissemination where you can find the most important news of archeology, history and humanities, as well as articles of interest, curiosities and much more. In short, a meeting point for everyone where they can share information and continue learning.