Egyptomani and American Architecture by Dr Mary McKercher (Fazzini)
This week’s lecture at the Mummification Museum was the one of the best ever. It was given by Dr Mary McKercher (Fazzini) who is working on the Mut Temple project for the Brooklyn Museum and it was on the influence of Egyptian art and style on America. She was a totally brilliant lecturer and had the audience in the palm of her hand. Ripples of laughter engulfed the audience as she pointed out the more humorous sides of Egyptian influence. Snoopy as a sphinx was a classic.
Egypt has certain associations in our minds which are not always accurate but are enduring. Knowledge, Wisdom, Exotic, Death, Biblical, Eternal, Stability are all icons of Egypt and have been used by companies, institutions, architects, designers wanting to portray their idea/concept as an ideal.
Free masonry also borrowed heavily from Egypt and many of its emblems and symbols have Egyptian connections. As many of the founding fathers were free masons this means that much of early American history has these symbols and of course to this day the pyramid is on the dollar bill.
But the past is often our perception of it so certain icons that are for ever Egyptian in our minds are actually rare and unique and not at all atypical of Egypt. Tutankhamen and Nefertiti being prime examples.
One lovely story Dr Fazzini told us was of some camel drivers bought to America together with their camels to do work in the desert. One of their number died and was buried with a monument of a pyramid surmounted by a camel. The name put on the monument was Hijolly which must have been the American version of Hajj Ali!!! She showed us architecture, movies, posters, books and monuments with many, many different Egyptian icons and designs, some of which seemed more Hollywood than Pharaonic. But all the way through she kept us educated, informed and above all amused.
The day of the lectures has now changed and in future it will be on Thursday nights
Posted by Jane: - 6:54 pm - Edit| 1 Comment »
January 20th, 2006