Thursday, 1 July 2010

My First False Dawn

Having read an article (one to which i do not have to hand) suggesting that the Bristol Museum and Art Gallery may have two Shabti figures, blue glazed which feature the Prenomen "Maat- Ka- Re/Ra" i decided to follow it up.

Fortunately for me, Bristol Museum is my local museum, so the journey was short ( and now very familiar after many previous visits). I "bumped into" a very helpful man (his name alludes me though- sorry) and we chatted about the Egypt Collection on display and about this blog. In particular, the shabtis.

If you do not know the museum - the main shabti display is the first thing you see, if you enter the collection at the correct door (ie not through the Assyrian Gallery ). The display us usually lit by fibre optic lights, which were currently not working as they should and consists of a number of shabtis of different colour, material, age and quality. The back wall of the display is mirrored and the eye- viewer is small but wide, so you have to get really close.

Long story short, i was unable to categorically recognise the said hieroglyphic prenomen Maat- Ka- Re/Ra.

Around the corner in a different display altogether was the second shabti. Easier to see, but only just...Hard to work out glyphs again and a crook- neck saw me on my knees, nose-to-glass but could not resolve anything.

Back the man and the badly lit shabti collection and the suggestion of the use of his torch, BINGO. A very nice gesture.

I should add that standing only inches away from me is my beautiful wife, Julie, who has been there all along.

The search by torchlight of this now very familiar set of shabtis and a long conversation with the museum - a decision was made. One of the people responsible for Bristol Museum's Egypt Gallery is Sue Giles. She had helped me via phone a long time ago when i had some questions and our museum friend (the man with no name) went to speak to Sue.

The conclusion to the conversation was the little niggle i had in the back of my head all along.. The existance of ANOTHER Maat-Ka-Re/Ra. This lady happend to be from the 21st dynasty (Hatshepsut being from the 18th Dynasty. Pharaoh Psusennes II had a daughter called Maatkare and there was also a high priestess with the same name, who may be the same person- i am not sure. The shabtis appear NOT to be Hatshepsut's

So ends the tale, but thanks to Sue, Julie and unknown man A who was very helpful and friendly,


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