Thursday, January 9, 2014

PARIS - Antiquities and Bastet at the Louvre


Sculptures bring history alive. In a manner of speaking. . .




Antiquities at the Louvre, by DG Hudson

These carvings were in an alcove off the main 'Antiquities' walk in the lower levels of the Louvre Museum. They appear to be waiting and have been for centuries. . .

The skill of the ancients is reflected in the enduring objects which they created. Would these items have survived if not retrieved and protected? Who knows? The fact that they do survive means we are now the custodians of our world history. These treasures of Antiquity prove the existence of past civilizations. How grand they seem. Their care is no easy task, as art of any kind requires protection from natural as well as man-made disasters.


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A regal majesty

In the corridor off a lower main gallery, sits one of my favorites, the Great Sphinx of Tanis. It majestically fills the corridor with its size and girth. There's something about the light and shadow that enhance the carving. There is damage, which does nothing to mar its magnificence. 






The Great Sphinx of Tanis, Louvre Museum, by D G Hudson



Civilizations come and go, leaving behind a small part or sometimes, big pieces of their history, as if to say, We were here. . . These are objects from a time far enough back in our history that it is hard to grasp their age. How many sand grains has this statue seen? How many rulers?


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Small Antiquities

Vases, urns or decorative objects appear in shades of green, blues, and turquoise, reflecting the semi-precious stones which were favored in certain dynasties. These displays are behind glass to protect them from damage, due to their fragile nature and the tiny size of some items.




Antiquities, Louvre Museum, by D G Hudson


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Bastet
Goddess of Cats, Lower Egypt, the Sun and the Moon.



Bastet, Egyptian Goddess, Louvre, by D G Hudson


Bastet, in another incarnation, was known as Bast, Lower Egypt's Goddess of Warfare. That was prior to the unification of the two main cultures of ancient Egypt. Other names she is known by are: Baast, Ubasti, Baset, and Bast. As Bastet, she became a protector diety. She has changed her form and her purpose through various dynasties.

Sekhmet, Upper Egypt's parallel to the former Bast, remained a warrior lioness deity and assumed that role for all of Egypt.


Previous related posts :

Louvre Small Antiquities
http://dghudson-rainwriting.blogspot.ca/2013/11/paris-louvres-small-antiquities.html

Antiquities Ornamentation at the Louvre
http://dghudson-rainwriting.blogspot.ca/2013/09/antiquities-ornamentation-at-louvre.html

Guest post at Jessica Bell's blog
http://thealliterativeallomorph.blogspot.ca/2012/10/author-guest-post-photo-impact-using.html


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Have you heard of Bastet, the Goddess? Have you seen an Antiquities exhibit? Do you tread the halls of museums like I do?

Please share your comments and tell me if you have a favorite museum. Best wishes for a great 2014! 

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Other related references:

The Great Sphinx of Tanishttp://www.louvre.fr/en/oeuvre-notices/great-sphinx-tanis

An Article about Artifacts:
http://www.nytimes.com/2009/10/08/world/middleeast/08egypt.html?_r=0

Bastet, Goddess of Lower Egypt
http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Bastet

23 comments:

  1. Meilori is glad that the Louvre is taking such good care of her Sphinx. :-)

    Lovely photos. I do envy you walking through those antiquities. Though England pushed aside France for most of the control of Egypt in the late 1800's, the British granting the French control over the antiquities is a boon to all the world not just Paris.

    Bastet, as you know, is a major figure in my latest novel. And its cursed hero is married to she who was called Sekhmet.

    So seeing all these rare antiquities brought new life to my research.

    Your photograph as always is amazing, bringing to life and depth what the lens sees. Thank you!

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    1. Bastet was also pushed around a bit, when civilizations changed. One day you're important, and the next, you're a minor player. . .Thanks for the kind words.

      Walking through the Louvre was a great experience, and one I'd dreamed about since art school. I could have spent days at the Louvre. I think the French did an excellent job of taking care of Antiquities (who better at protecting art?)
      At least at the Louvre, I wasn't giving hubs the art running commentary like I was at the Musee d'Orsay. . .

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  2. I went on a trip to London & Paris, during my spring break, my senior year in high school. I remember doing everything at break neck speed, including the Louvre. I really loved Westminster Abbey, not that that's necessarily a 'museum'. My fave museum is The Sandwich Glass Museum in my hometown. Love it.

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    1. I'd love to see Westminster Abbey. As for the Louvre, I spent about five hours there, but my photography slowed me down. . .

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  3. Nice photos! I'm looking forward to getting back to Oxford and seeing the Ashmolean Museum again this Easter. Lots of good Egyptian antiquities in there! Back in 1990 I got to see the National Museum in Cairo. Took my breath away. Someday I'll have to get back there, but not today. . .

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    1. There are a few British Museums I'd love to visit, Sean. I only saw a trailer on the Cairo Museum. Lucky you. Hope you'll share some of your museum trips.

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    2. The Cairo Museum has had a major and much-needed overhaul since I was there, so anything I say would be out of date. I do have a post coming out soon on the new archaeological museum here in Cantabria, and another on Vienna's treasury of the Teutonic Order. I'll be announcing those on my blog, of course. You can't keep a museum junkie down!

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    3. Oh, and did you hear an archaeological team discovered the tomb of Pharaoh Sobekhotep? It was looted, sadly, but still a cool news piece.

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    4. Thanks for the extra details, Sean, I'll be watching for the announcements. Museum junkies - I like that! And,finding a new tomb is still big news today!

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  4. Wonderful shots! I loved this part of the Louvre and spent a very long time enjoying the amazing pieces. Such an amazing part of history to enjoy! :)

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    1. Nice to meet someone else who loves museums, Meradeth, and immersing oneself in history. Thanks for visiting!

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  5. Oh, I've always wanted to visit the Louvre! I can imagine just getting lost in there. Someday I'll make it to Paris.

    I love history for the reason you mention here - it's awe-inspiring to try to imagine how many rulers this statue has seen come and go, etc. It's humbling to realize we are just a blip on the radar of history and someday the ancient civilization will be ours.

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    1. I've wanted to visit the area you mention in your stories - Martha's Vineyard !

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  6. What do you think will endure from our time? An iPhone? How pathetic is that.

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    1. Perhaps a few sculptures, perhaps a few items saved in time capsules. Yes, Milo, pathetic proof of our existence, an iphone. Good point.

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  7. I appreciate your perspective, DG. I never thought about the care involved in preserving these gems of history over so many years, decades, centuries. It's amazing.

    Be well.
    xoRobyn

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    1. Museums everywhere help us preserve our history. I haven't seen a bad one, only smaller ones.

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  8. I have heard of Bast - from Rick Riordon's middle grade Kane series. I love those books because they infuse so much information about Egyptian gods in them.

    Great pictures! I can't even imagine how they got the huge Sphinx in there without damaging it!

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    1. I'm sure there is a group of professional antiquity movers who handle that job of installing the statues. Bast or Bastet as she was later known, was interesting, as is a lot about Egyptian history..

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  9. Hi DG - stunning photos .. I know very little about antiquities .. but it's always great that a little more knowledge is added into my memory bank. Bastet's image is very well known, but I need to find out more ...

    I had my first visit to the Petrie Museum .. a small museum, part of University College London, which is dedicated to the work of Flinders Petrie in Egypt in the 1800s .... I knew at the time I need to go back and revisit .. and it's free!

    Blogging is great as we can incrementally increase our knowledge base .. cheers and I look forward to seeing more .. Hilary

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    1. I remember you featuring that Petrie Museum or one similar with lots of exhibits and dusty, as if no one studies them anymore. I would gladly visit that museum with you, Hilary!

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  10. I would love to visit Paris in the near future and yeah, i see what you are getting at with preservation and history. Can you Imagine in centuries to come what they will have preserved from our time? Great read. :-)

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    1. We have to preserve as we go, can't do it tomorrow. How much would we know of Egypt if they hadn't built such monuments that would withstand time and man.

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