Friday, August 8, 2014

Museum Report part 2: the British Museum

Part of the problem of waiting 30 years to revisit a place is that nothing is the same as you remember it. Another part is the massive amounts of romanticization that's taken place in your head during the course of those 30 years.

Add to that the recent visit to the Metropolitan Museum with my friend Susan just a couple of months ago (where we spent most of our time in the Egyptian wing), and what I had was a recipe for disappointment.

I spent way too much time comparing artifacts to those I had seen in New York, which was stupid, but there it is. The Elgin Marbles (which aren't called that anymore, they are more properly named the Parthenon, as that's where they were gathered from) were beautiful and awesome as I remember them.

One thing that I didn't remember from my previous visit was the throngs of people and the heat. The building isn't temperature controlled and with so many people in there, it became quite close and stifling hot. Ariel wasn't feeling too well before we got to the museum and by the time we ventured up to the second floor, she became rather ill.

I didn't realize the British Museum had the original print of Hokusai's Great Wave, which is among my favorite pieces of art (the others are at the Tate, more on that later), so I managed to miss the print gallery entirely. We spend a lot of time in Egypt, Messopotamia, Greece and Rome, with a side-jaunt into ancient Britian, and a serendipitous rest in a gallery that was basically an enormous library, with glassed-in shelves of wonderful objects from all over the world (and a copy of the Rosetta Stone that you could touch)

One of the things I found remarkable in the Egyptian wing were the mummified animals. The weave pattern on this cat, for example, is a quilting design known as the Log Cabin.

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