Tuesday, June 20, 2006

Oriental Institute

This weekend Cowboy and I went to the Oriental Institute at the U of C. Cowboy and I both went to U of C so it was interesting to see all the changes (for the better) that have been instituted since we've been there. There were tours - maybe freshmans or perspective students - whoever they were they looked YOUNG. Has it really been that long since I was one of them? I digress...
The Oriental Institute rocked! It is my second favorite museum in Chicago after the Art Institute. They've opened two new galleries, full of "new" reliefs excavated from tombs and cities. The building itself has been recently renovated (I believe to put in a climate control system) and is beautiful. It's an old stone building, typical of the gothic architectural style on campus, with exposed beams that are designed with (perhaps painted to look like?) inlay. The Persian Gallery is said to hold the best archeological collection of artifacts from the area now known as Iran. There's an amazing black limestone head of a bull in there (click on the gallery link and scroll just a bit so you can get an idea of the size!) that I always enjoy seeing. The Egyptian Gallery also has a gi-normous King Tut. And, from the Mesopotamian Gallery, here's a pic of the winged bull, or lamassu. This is just one of the amazing pieces they have on display - and they only display about 4% of their collection.



Many of the early excavations were led by James Henry Breasted who was possibly a model for Indiana Jones. When I saw a photo of him, his wife and son on an expedition, however, I wondered if he was also a model for Radcliffe Emerson in the Amelia Peabody series by Elizabeth Peters. In turn, I often wonder if The Mummy was based on the Amelia Peabody books. I have to admit, most of what I know about ancient Egypt comes from gleaning information from her books. I like to think that sounds worse than it is - she did get her PhD in Egyptology from U of C after all.

1 comment:

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