King Tuthmosis III
Just back from an almost three-week trip with my husband. We steamed up the Nile (jammed with more tourists than I could possibly have imagined) to visit the Ancient Egyptian tombs and temples. Despite the crowds, amazing and splendid beyond words. At left, one of my favorite statues. It’s of perfectly smooth basalt and is displayed in the small gem of a museum in Luxor. It depicts King Tuthmosis III who ruled Egypt circa 1450 BC. You read that right… the statue is about 3,500 years old.
This was during the Eighteenth Dynasty (1550 – 1292 BC), the most spectacular period of Ancient Egyptian art – and my favorite. The golden treasures pulled from King Tutankamun‘s tomb date from this era. FYI – a King Tut exhibit is now touring the U.S. Next stop: Philadelphia; then on to London. But a ton of stuff from the tomb is still on display in the ramshackle Egyptian Museum in Cairo, where we saw it.
The rest of us were rubbing sticks together
How did they do it?? While the rest of us were learning how to rub sticks together, the Egyptians were perfecting their extraordinary art and culture. The gods are confusing as heck so I won’t go into them. Suffice it to say that you gotta know your Isis from your Hathor and I mixed them up half the time.
More of my favorites — the sprawling Temple of Karnak, the Temple of Luxor and the giant statues (colossi) of Ramses II carved into the cliffs at Abu Simbel. We also saw Ramses II’s mummy in the Egyptian Museum in Cairo.
A glimmer of understanding
This was my first glimpse into Arabic and Islamic culture and afforded a glimmer of understanding of what’s happening in the Middle East.
And no, I didn’t think about blogging or email for one single minute. It was heaven. I’ll add a link to some of my photos later.
My favorite reading
Agatha Christie’s Death on the Nile (published in 1937 and still the perfect complement to a trip up the Nile)
Flaubert in Egypt (a racy account of the French author’s 1849 visit to Egypt and the Orient)
Dr. Zahi Hawass (hilariously egocentric but expert Egyptologist, archaeologist and author – we were treated to his slide show in Cairo)