Friday, December 3, 1999

Courtesy photo
"Mysteries of the Nile" is accompanied by a CD-ROM
audio tour, with both family and children's versions.
The audio will help explain what the art on display
meant to the people who made and used it.

Arts academy to
run exhibit on ancient
Egyptian civilization

'Mystery of the Nile' is better
than the popular King Tut exhibit
of the '70s, says its curator

By Tim Ryan


A spectacular traveling exhibition featuring the ancient civilization of Egypt will have a 4-month run at the Honolulu Academy of Arts beginning this spring.

"Mystery of the Nile: Treasures from Ancient Egypt" spans nearly 5,000 years of Egyptian cultural history, according to its guest curator, Egyptologist David P. Silverman.

And it is better than the hugely popular "Treasures of Tutankhamen" exhibit he helped put together in the late 1970s, he said.

"Mystery of the Nile," which will be at the art academy from March 16 to July 30, offers insight on the historical continuity of Egyptian society and art, Silverman said.

Contextually, it compares Egypt with African neighbors like the Sudan, which has shared a similar culture. The civilization of Nubia, another Nile-based culture south of Egypt, also is represented in the exhibition, which contains about 140 objects.

Most of the material was obtained through scientific excavations that allowed archaeologists to know where the objects come from, confirm their authenticity and ascertain dates of origin. Acquiring objects through excavation largely is no longer possible for institutions outside a given country, since most countries do not allow recovered objects to be exported.

The articles featured in the show include sculptures; mummy cases, shrouds and masks; gold jewelry; ornaments; tools; and architectural fragments. This will be the first time that many of the artifacts have been publicly displayed.

Concepts of the Egyptians' belief in the afterlife will be explored through objects such as statues used to house the spirit of the deceased, and materials used in mummification and burial, including canopic urns, which held internal organs of the deceased.

Other works include amulets, ceramics, stone vessels and cosmetic tools used in everyday life and buried in tombs.

The academy's Education, Film and Theater departments will present a range of educational offerings for adults and children during the exhibition's run here, including a lecture and film series, keiki art activities, a children's special exhibition and specialized docent training for tour guides and teachers.

Opens March 16

Bullet What: "Mystery of the Nile: Treasures From Ancient Egypt."
Bullet When: March 16-July 30; 11 a.m-5 p.m. Tuesdays-Thursdays; 11 a.m.-9 p.m. Fridays; 10 a.m.-5 p.m. Saturdays; noon-5 p.m. Sundays.
Bullet Where: Honolulu Academy of Arts, 900 S. Beretania St.
Bullet Tickets: General admission for adults, $12 weekdays, $15 weekends. Youths 13-17, $9 weekdays, $12 weekends. Children 6-12, $5 weekdays and weekends. Children 5 and under admitted free. (Admission to the exhibition will be by timed tickets available through the academy or any Ticketplus outlet beginning in February. Same-day ticket purchases will be offered when available.)
Bullet Information: General information, 532-8700. Exhibition recorded information, 532-8701.
Bullet Special events: The Academy Guild will host "A Night on the Nile," a gala black-tie grand opening celebration, March 11. Tickets are $100 a person. For reservations, call 532-8737.

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