Sunday, September 16, 2007

Back to the Future ..... A modern look at ancient Egypt

I guess you might call this the "Extreme Blast From the Past" segment. I did intend to bring this to you live from London...but the fact that I was so busy, exhausted and that internet is $2 for 10 minutes made it impossible to happen. But now, Im back at the home, recovering from serious jetlag and just taking a couple of days to reflect on one of the most incredible experiences of my life!
As soon as I arrived at the hotel and checked in, I literally dropped everything and ran two blocks to visit the British Museum. This Museum is like nothing ….. and I mean nothing I’ve ever experienced in my LIFE! Not only is it gi-normous, it’s so full of eye candy that you could literally spend a week (or more) just seeing everything. Unfortunate for me, I only had the rest of the afternoon.

I am intrigued by archaeology, especially when it pertains to biblical history. I've never thought of myself as a history buff, but I do enjoy “visual” history and learning about the places I’m visiting. I spent most of my time visiting the exhibits of Egypt, Greece, Babylon, Rome and Persia, some of the main world powers during Bible times.
I was expecting to see ancient artifacts of Biblical history written in cueniform on cylinders and pottery...or maybe even a mummy or two, what I didn't expect was to be so inspired by what I was seeing. I even had to stop for a moment and pinch myself to make sure I was really seeing what I was seeing. I didn't expect a day full of artful inspiration.

Many of the ancient cultures - Egyptian, Babylonian and Greece were very ornate in their clothing, decoration of their palaces (we would simply call it home decor..) and general artwork. But, who would have thought there existed among them an ancient "beading community"? That's right, ancient Egypt and Babylon wore beautiful ornate and beaded jewelry. This may not be any suprize since we've all seen movies depicting this but until you see it with your own eyes and realize just how OLD these pieces date back you realize that we have absolutely nothing on them as far as jewelry designs. It really gives credit to King Solomon's words at Ecclesiates 1:9 & 10 "There is nothing new under the sun....what has come into existence is from time prior to us". How wise those words have proved to be!
I found it amazing to see how much the trends of today mimic what they designed and wore back then. I was amazed at how much my designs reflect the ancient. Maybe the only difference is that we have the ability to go to one of the craft stores and buy pre-purchased beads (or better yet…have polymer clay to make your own!) But, who’s to say they didn’t have markets with merchants selling beads for purchase?? One day we'll know that answer, but not for a while.
Most of the jewelry that I saw was made from coral, turquoise and lots of lapis. They incorporated lots of big tube beads in their designs. Some of the beads were made from terra cotta and typically these were cylinders with cuneiform writing depicting bits of history, prayers to their gods and sometimes legal documents. The Egyptians were known for their ornate collar necklaces. Some of their designs and big chunky beads remind me of styles you might see in a clothing catalog. It was truly a wonderful experience and I highly recommend the British Museum if you ever have a chance to go - oh...and by the way...it's FREE!
Stay tuned over the next few days as I bring you more of my trip to London including the photo shoot, my book cover and ancient wire wrapped jewelry!
Until next time on the ArtBuzz.....

2 comments:

Judi said...

Oh Linda, there's another place in the UK that you'll absolutely love for inspiration. It's the Pitt River Museum in Oxford. Entry is free there too and they give you a torch so that you can see some of the stuff that is in dark corners where natural light would damage it. It is fantastic.

If you're ever in the UK and want to go, let me know and I'll take you - full of inspiration. They have so much stuff that they can't display it all so as well as looking at display cases, you can open drawers and if you know what you're looking for and give them enough notice, they'll unlock the drawers so that you can view the stuff underneath as well.

I'm enjoying your blog. Oh, and JLo sent me - I'm a Lucy too!

Judi

Linda Peterson Designs said...

Hi Judi,

Oh that sounds fascinating!!!! I would love to visit! Are you in the UK?

I hope to have another trip there next year...maybe in the spring...no set plans as of yet, but Im working on getting some locations for classes.

JLO is great...THANKS FOR REFERRING JUDI JEN!

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