Vintage 1990s Egyptian Revival Metropolitan Museum of Art multi-strand Shen symbol collar
A gold plated Egyptian Revival multi-strand necklace made exclusively for the Metropolitan Museum of Art. This piece dates to the 1990s and is made of six strands of glass beads (mimicking carnelian, turquoise, and lapis) and a large Shen symbol focal pendant, enameled and brightly plated. The Shen symbol is a stylized length of rope, circled and knotted. It represents completeness and was used by the Ancient Egyptians as a protective symbol. This necklace was never worn: I acquired it in the original mail-order bag with the tag still attached! Mint condition. Hook and safety clasp.
Markings: MMA USA
The original "Treasures of Tutankhamun" exhibit was one of the best attended in American museum history, pushing the host museums of the seven chosen American cities to their very limits in terms of attendance and logistics. After some negotiating, The Met was chosen to organize the entire U.S. tour, which ran from November 1976 through September 1979. More than 8 million people attended the exhibit over that time period and nearly $10 million was raised to fun renovations at the Cairo Museum in Egypt.
This exhibit ushered in "the era of the blockbuster museum exhibition" according to an article in the HUMANITIES magazine, published by the National Endowment for the Humanities. Organization of the exhibit was immense. The article explains:
"The insurance costs alone were staggering, not to mention the additional staff and logistical support required. Help appeared on the insurance front when Congress passed the Arts and Artifacts Indemnity Act, in December 1975, to help cover insurance costs related to hosting international exhibitions. “Treasures of Tutankhamun” became the first international art exhibition indemnified under the new law."
Fun fact: The entirety of the artifacts were transported by the U.S. Navy. "The USS Milwaukee picked up the treasure in Alexandria, Egypt, and handed it off in Naples, Italy, to the USS Sylvania, which delivered it to Norfolk, Virginia, in early September 1976."
Quotations taken from: National Endowment for the Humanities, Meredith Hindley HUMANITIES, September/October 2015, Volume 36, Number 5
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