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Archive for March 9th, 2012

Topic: The Rijksmuseum van Oudheden Museum Nederlands

This exibit information goes nicely with my previous two posts on AncientEgypt.

The exhibition Gardens of the Pharaohs will showcase the flora of ancient Egypt. Visitors will find out what plants, trees, flowers, and crops grew in the age of the pharaohs. The museum’s collection includes not only dried plant remains from thousands of years ago, but also pictures of plants and trees on a huge variety of objects: wall reliefs, mummy cases, jewellery, amulets, and drinking bowls.

Cultural landscape

The flora of ancient Egypt was highly diverse. Over the centuries, the natural environment was replaced by a cultural landscape in which all kinds of exotic species were cultivated. Some were grown for food, of course, and many were used to treat diseases and other medical conditions: trees, bushes, produce, fibre crops, herbs (medicinal or otherwise), and ornamental flowers could all serve medical purposes. Agriculture was central to Egyptian life. Farmers made up a large part of the population, and canals, basins, and dikes provided permanent irrigation.

Gardens of the elite

The wealthy Egyptian elite related to nature in a very different way from the impoverished farmers. In their circles, it was important to flaunt your status. Their ideal was to own an estate surrounded by a shady walled garden full of palms, sycamores, figs, perseas, Christ-thorns, willows, and other trees. There was almost always a pergola covered with grape vines, and a pond full of water plants formed the centre of these orderly, geometric gardens. Gardens of this kind could also be found surrounding the temples of the gods, and sometimes in front of the monumental tombs cut into the rocks. One site that vividly illustrates the Egyptians’ fascination with plants and flowers is the ‘botanical garden’ in the Temple of Karnak. In a series of chambers, artists carved wall reliefs depicting exotic plants and animals that the pharaohs had brought back to Egypt from their foreign campaigns.

Original article:

The Rijksmuseum van Oudheden Museum

Nederlands

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