Program Wrap Up: Dr. Betsy Bryan on Egyptian Funerary Beliefs

A blog post by Programs Manager Trillion Attwood. To read more posts from Trillion click HERE.

This Sunday we welcomed Dr. Betsy Bryan of Johns Hopkins University to the JMM to offer a little more insight into Mendes Cohen’s collection of antiquities. Dr. Bryan’s fascinating presentation  discussed both the collection as a whole and the way in which it represents ancient Egyptian funerary beliefs.

The Program
The Program

The collection, originally consisting of nearly 700 objects, formed the basis of the Johns Hopkins Archaeological Museum, and was donated shortly after Mendes’ death by his nephew also named Mendes Cohen. Most of the pieces were acquired during his time in modern Luxor during his three month voyage down the Nile.

Dr. Bryan explained that the ancient Egyptians believed the afterlife to be similar to life, as such requiring many of the same possessions. These requirements ranged from the body, hence the need for mummification, to smaller items such as cosmetic containers, jewelry and food. Some items such as jewelry provided a dual function having protective powers, often associated with the preservation of the body.

Selections from Mendes' archaeological collection.
Selections from Mendes’ archaeological collection.

The talk predominantly  focused upon standards within wealthier members of the community especially Tutankhamun. However there was a particularly interesting discussion regarding ordinary members of society and the simpler grave goods that can be found in their burials based upon Dr. Bryans current work in Egypt.

Please enjoy this recording of Dr. Brayns presentation and share with friends and family!

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