Games, swords and jewelry from the life of Isis

June 4, 2013 at 8:07 pm 2 comments

All of us have seen beautiful works of art from ancient Egypt. Here I’d like to share some photos I’ve taken that give you a feeling for the daily life of my Isis of The Red Mirror. These are actual artifacts, thousands of years old.

If you’re like me, you love to imagine the hands that poured jasmine oil from glass flasks – or shaved heads and mounds with copper blades. Each object has a story – tales of love and disappointment, tragedy and triumph. And each object has a history that begins with the man who wrought it into being and those who used or wore it, then continues through the lives of all who have held the object in their own hands over the centuries – and finally to those who gaze upon it in wonder today.

beaded dress

Isis wears a beaded dress to the Khent-min market. This version was worn by a 12-year old concubine of a Pharaoh. Petrie Museum

Detail of a beaded dress British Museum

Detail of a beaded dress British Museum

The curled hair and beard of the Persian General. British Museum

The curled hair and beard of another Persian General. British Museum

Necklace Isis might have worn

A faience beaded necklace that Isis could have worn. British Museum

Egyptian game similar to senet

Egyptian game Isis might have played on her barge to pass the time. British Museum

Old Kingdom wife

Sit-Hathor could have worn this wig. Cairo Museum

Vulture with outstretched wings

The Vulture with outstretched wings painted on temple door lintels. Valley of the Kings tomb

glass flasks

Glass flasks like these held the oils that Maia poured into Isis’ bath. Petrie Museum

Sistrum with Head of Hathor

Sistrum with Head of Hathor. British Museum

copper blades

Copper blades like these shaved Isis’ head. Petrie Museum

sedge rope

Sedge rope to lash Isis’ barge to the stone quay. British Museum

swords

Antinous drew one of these swords when confronting Hetmus. Petrie Museum

Greek style jewelry. All gold and no stones. British Museum

From Antinous to Isidora. Greek style jewelry. All gold and no stones. British Museum

Isis would never have the worn plain sandals of a common Egyptian. Petrie Museum

Isis would never have worn the plain sandals of a common Egyptian. Petrie Museum

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Entry filed under: The Isis Trilogy. Tags: , , , , , .

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2 Comments Add your own

  • 1. Ann Calhoun  |  June 5, 2013 at 1:15 pm

    The beaded dress looks like lapis beats? And ya gotta wonder how many nicks in the skull high-born ladies endured when they got their heads shaved. Ouch. Pretty amazing stuff.

    Reply
    • 2. Sandra Gore  |  June 5, 2013 at 4:07 pm

      Interesting observation about the beads. My guess would be faience. The Egyptians often mixed faience with real stones to fill in when needed. The effect was what mattered. Lapis lazuli was quite a valuable commodity as it was imported from Afghanistan. These beads are remarkably regular. The variation in color would have been deliberate – exactly for the reason of mimicking lapis. Further research required!
      As for the shaving, ladies of ancient times endured quite a bit of discomfort to be “beautiful.” Removing body hair involved shaving, pumicing and pulling out by the roots with wax. OUCH!

      As a side note, there is also a scalp of blond waves at the Petrie which was found on a mummy UNDER her wig. Not everyone shaved their heads. The moment I saw it, I thought Athena! The hair is much older though – by about a thousand years.

      Reply

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