Sunday, March 18, 2012

EGYPT



As you may or may not know, I'm in Palm Springs for the month. I brought a pile of library books with me and one of the things I've done here is pore over the incredible photographs in The Treasures of Tutankhamun and the Egyptian Museum of Cairo. I'm sure the artifacts from King Tut's tomb came through my beloved city of L.A. at one point, but for some unpardonable reason I missed them. The upside being that I have been simply astounded by the exquisite carvings, bas-reliefs, sculpture, death masks, furniture, and jewelry. I mean, really, you look at them and then you look at, say, Jeff Koons, and think What happened to us?

The photographs below don't do justice to the ones (by Araldo de Luca) in the book, but these are just of the few of the many items that grabbed me.

THE LECTOR-PRIEST KAAPER,
KNOWN AS "THE VILLAGE MAYOR"
SYCAMORE
5TH DYNASTY, USERKAF'S REIGN 2465-2458 BC
DECORATIVE PANEL
LIMESTONE AND FAIENCE
3rd DYNASTY DJOSER'S REIGN
2630-2611 BC
RAHOTEP AND NOFRET [SPOUSES]
PAINTED LIMESTONE
4TH DYNASTY, SNEFRU'S REIGN
2575-2551 B.C.
STATUETTE OF KHUFU
IVORY
4TH DYNASTY, KHUFU'S REIGN
2551-2558 B.C.
THE DWARF SENEB WITH HIS FAMILY
PAINTED LIMESTONE
LATE 5TH DYNASTY-EARLY 6TH DYNASTY
24TH-23RD CENTURY, B.C.
The alabaster jars for face cream, the gold leaf and agate bracelets...man! Anyway, just as I was scouring kayak for flights to Cairo, a friend sent me this Los Angeles Times piece about Timothy Fenstermacher, a high school dropout who became obsessed with Egyptology and has taught himself heiroglyphics from solitary confinement (where he'd rather be than in the general population) in Tehachapi (California)State Prison! So that is heartening, and inspiring, and God bless him, and I wish Mr. Fenstermacher well. I myself am reading up on mummification practices and the Egyptians' near-worship of household cats. They, too (the Egyptians, not the cats, though who knows?), aspired to eternity...

According to the locals,  it rains maybe three days a year here. So far, I have been here for all three.

Other news: I'm holding up fairly well under my Lenten sugar fast. I was a Catholic for probably 12 years before someone told me you could cut loose on Sundays. Let me tell ya, a dark chocolate bar with toffee, walnuts and pecans and a bag of Allsorts-a-Licorice from TJ's look pretty darn good by Sunday.

Re-read Hunter Thompson's "The Kentucky Derby is Decadent and Depraved," It was just as good as it's always been. The same goes for Meditations from a Movable Chair by Andre Dubus. Now I'm halfway through Graham Greene's The Quiet American. A different Lent than I've had before, inwardly I mean. I feel very lucky and very humbled.

Thank you all for reading, supporting, responding. You're a big part of my life!

"I am dying, Egypt, dying."
--Marc Antony, to Cleopatra.Antony and Cleopatra, William Shakespeare, (IV, xv, 41). 

6 comments:

  1. The diversity of your interests amazes me!

    ReplyDelete
  2. Egypt is one of my favorite places, great article.

    ReplyDelete
  3. I was jarred by the realism of the statue of the lector-priest (Don't I know that guy?). And that it was carved from sycamore and not from something more 'exotic'.

    ReplyDelete
  4. All fine and well, Heather, but have you been to Shields in Indio for a date shake yet? :)

    ReplyDelete
  5. I have not! Though a date shake sounds really good right now...

    ReplyDelete

I WELCOME your comments!!!