On Sunday D. and I decided to go to the Rosicrucian Egyptian Museum in San José, which houses the largest exhibition of Ancient Egyptian antiquities in the Western US. Here's some of the pics I took.
On the grounds outside the museum, lions drool into a fountain.
Oh good, they're open.
Some of the cool stuff at the entrance: columns; row of rams; Amun ram guarding Pharaoh; hieroglyphic frieze.
Inside, we begin with the Afterlife exhibit, full of coffins and mummies.
Tutankhamun coffin replica.
Coffin of Usermontu, Priest of Montu, Lord of Thebes.
The inside of a coffin lid, full of hieroglyphics.
A tomb fragment, full of hieroglyphics.
The eyes on Lady Mesehti's wooden mummy case were painted on the eastern side of the coffin because they are meant to witness the rising of the sun each morning.
A funerary necklace, intended to be worn only by the deceased.
Many Egyptian deities were associated with specific animals. Baboons were believed to personify Djehuti, god of record-keeping, writing and wisdom. Today he is known by his Greek name, Thoth.
Coffin of Irterau, a very important woman long, long, long ago.
This fragment of a Roman "stucco coffin" depicts the deceased in a realistic manner. The style is a mix of Roman and Egyptian cultures.
There's that eye again (on priest and scribe Disure's coffin).
A small pyramid formed the entrance to subterranean private tombs of the New Kingdom. The pyramid was topped with a pyramidion, a small capstone like this one.
A coffin interior typical of the Twenty-First Dynasty.
Animals were mummified in ancient Egypt for several reasons -- some, such as fish and oxen, were placed in tombs to be a permanent food source for the spirit of the deceased in the afterlife. Some beloved pets were mummified by their owners. But the most popular reason for mummifying animals was to honor the gods.
Just as humans were placed in human-shaped coffins, cats were buried in cat-shaped coffins. The "cat" section of this coffin lifts off the base. In the bottom of the wooden cat is a pillow where the mummy would be placed.
This mummified cat was most likely not a pet but an offering to Bastet, the cat goddess who was protectress of the home.
The Apis bull was considered to be the living incarnation of the god Ptah, chief god of the ancient city of Memphis.
A coffin section.
This mummy of an upper-class Egyptian man did not have any wrappings or other decorations on his body that might give a clue to his identity. His nails were painted, but he had naturally red hair.
The canopic chest of Tutankhamen is made of banded calcite stone. This shows a couple of the 4 carved images of protective goddesses on the lid. The interior of the chest is divided into four sections which held Tut's mummified organs. This is a replica; the original is rarely displayed outside of Egypt.
This passageway leads to a replica of an ancient Egyptian rock cut tomb, based on photos and sketches of tombs at Beni Hasan.
Those ancient Egyptians sure had some fancy hats.
He reminds me of some doctors I've been treated by.
As the protector of the helpless, Bes was called upon to heal sick children. Milk was fed to the child from a special bottle in the hopes that Bes would turn it into medicine. If the child was still sick, then a physician was called in.
Bastet was the cat goddess who protected the household. She was also a lover of music and dance. Women honored her for keeping mice away from their children's food.
These glass eyes were made to replace the mummy's eyes, which dried out during the mummification process. All parts of the body were required for the afterlife, so even the eyes were made for the deceased to use.
Simple offering stelae like this were used in homes and villages during a private ritual honoring one's ancestors. Big elaborate ones were used for public rituals.
These "pillows" were made to support the neck while protecting elaborate hairstyles. They are supposedly quite comfortable when sleeping on one's back.
This face from a fine coffin demonstrates the techniques used in the application of cosmetics.
A glass vessel.
Hey, I can find stuff just like this on Etsy!
Sandals were worn by everyone in ancient Egypt, but probably only when necessary and were otherwise carried.
The cuneiform writing on this massive stele tells of the sieges and conquests of King Esarhaddon, one of the most powerful kings of the Assyrian Empire, which included ancient Egypt at one time.
A cuneiform clay tablet showing receipts and tax records from ancient Mesopotamia.
Mesopotamian barley beer was quite thick and required straining through devices such as this prior to serving.
It was considered a good-luck ritual to break apart small statues of the fertility goddess Ishtar and bury the pieces before the doorway of a newly-married couple's household.
Both men and woman wore bronze jewelry, including bracelets, necklaces, and cylinder seals worn as amulets.
This god of the Roman Period combines the headdress of a king displaying a human face, the body of a lion, a cobra tail, and symbols of the god Amun.
This Roman is reclining at his own funerary feast. The jackal god Anubis above him is a sign of cultural continuity from earlier periods of ancient Egypt. Anubis was believed to protect the deceased on their journey to the afterlife.
During the Roman Period, portraits were hung in the house during an individual's life and were used in the place of a mummy mask after the person died.
After a death it was customary for relatives or widows to catch their tears in small glass vials. When the bottles were full, they were corked and placed in tombs.
This limestone cross from the Coptic Period blends ancient motifs with Christian iconography.
This species of ram is associated with the sun god Amun.
A mural on the museum's mezzanine.
This statue of Cleopatra VII is one of only seven known in the world. This is the real deal, not a replica.
Ra-Horakhti was the god of the sun rising on the horizon.
All that is left of a bird mummy placed inside this minuscule tomb over 2,000 years ago is a small hawk skull.
Khonsu was a god of the moon.
These stone jars held the internal organs that a mummy would need when reaching the afterlife.
The goddess Isis appears on the face of this staff finial. Staves were carried by priests in ancient Egypt as a form of protection against the powerful elemental divinity, a potential occupational hazard. (It looks like Isis should switch to decaf, doesn't it?)
This sandstone image of Thoth may have been used as an incense dispenser in a temple (he looks pretty pleased with himself, doesn't he?).
The Egyptians believed that the soul was comprised of five distinguishable parts: the ba, the ka, the shadow, the name, and the actual physical body. The ba was essentially the person's personality.
Scribes were very important to the bureaucracy of ancient Egypt. In this afterlife scene, goddesses Isis and Neith look on approvingly as a deceased scribe joins Horus in pouring water over offerings to Osiris to "activate" them. The deceased has passed his judgment test and has become one with Osiris, the resurrecting god.
Some musical instruments used in daily life and temple ritual.
A coffin faceplate.
When Akhenaten was pharaoh, he closed the temples to the many gods and goddesses and set up a monotheistic religion dedicated to a god called Aten, defined as a universal creative power embodied by the light of the sun.
Akhenaten's queen was named Nefertiti ("Beauty has arrived"). One eye was never put in place on the bust, probably because the materials were too expensive to justify both eyes on a mere sculptor's model. The actual bust is currently in the Berlin Museum.
Under Akhenaten the many gods were prohibited, so amulets instead took on the forms of neutral hieroglyphics and healing plants. These two glass amulets represent the medicinal thistle flower and the hieroglyph ankh, meaning "life."
Next to the museum's library room is a gallery with a mystical art show, "Vibrations," by Rosicrucian artist Maria Butina.
Back outside the museum, we take a look the the sphinxes by the fountain.
On the museum grounds is the Peace Garden, which has a small temple.
On the temple floor is a cartouche. It has been wetted down recently; the entire rest of the temple floor is bone-dry.
Next to the Peace Garden is the Akhnaton Shrine, for members only, so we just peek at it from the outside.
A mystical shoulder rub, perhaps?
Hey, there's that cartouche again.
A crow scopes things out from the Akhnaton Shrine roof.
Date palms in the Peace Garden.
As we take a look at the rest of the grounds, we see a bas-relief kneeling scribe above the entrance to the Research Library, suggesting the building's dedication to the pursuit of knowledge.
Next to the Rosicrucian Temple is a small garden with statues of Horus, falcon-headed god of the sky.