University of Pennsylvania Museum of Archaeology and Anthropology

Category: 125th Anniversary Object of the Day

Lyre Fragment: Plaque [Object of the Day #105]


By: Alyssa Kaminski

This Fragment was originally found as the front plaque of The Bull Headed Lyre (object #B17694B). The plaque is broken into four panels that tell the story of royalty’s control over nature, funerary ritual, and entry into the underworld. The top panel depicts a nude figure wrestling with two human-headed bulls. This image represents a […]

Women’s Blouse [Object of the Day #104]


By: admin

This colorful blouse is part of a traditional women’s costume in the province of Bukidnon in  northern Mindanao (Philippine Islands).  It is made up of strips of dark blue and red cotton cloth, with appliqued and embroidered zigzag and chain designs in red, blue and white. It slips over the head, and is very short, […]

Royal Shawabti [Object of the Day #103]


By: Josef Wegner

Shabtis are mummiform funerary figurines buried in tombs to assist the deceased in the afterlife. Early ones appeared first around 2000 BCE during Egypt’s Middle Kingdom and then became very popular in later periods. They occur in a wide range of quality: from crude mud versions to elaborate ones in fine materials for elite and […]

Crystal Ball [Object of the Day #102]


By: Gabrielle Niu

Seated on top of a stand shaped like a frothing wave, 24.5 cm in diameter, the Crystal Ballcentered under the vaulted ceiling of the Chinese rotunda has an exciting and mysterious past. The fifty-five pounds of transparent quartz crystal is supposedly from the imperial collections of the infamous Qing dynasty Empress, Cixi (1835 – 1908). […]

Helmet Mask [Object of the Day #101]


By: admin

This type of helmet mask (tatanua) is worn by male dancers in large, multi-village funerary celebrations in central and northern New Ireland (Papua New Guinea).  It features a large, arching crest of reddish brown plant fiber and sides decorated with red and blue trade cloth and feathers.  The wood face, with straight open mouth and […]

Taizong Horses [Object of the Day #100]

Taizong Horse

By: Xiuqin Zhou

The six stone horse reliefs, known in Chinese as “Zhaoling Liujun” 昭陵六骏 (the six stone horses of Zhao Mausoleum), were commissioned by Emperor Taizong of the Tang dynasty 唐太宗 (r. 627-649) in 636 CE and presumably completed in 649 CE, the time of his death. The realistic depiction and exquisite carving techniques of these stone […]

Gospel of Saint Matthew [Object of the Day #99]


By: Jennifer Houser Wegner

This papyrus fragment was discovered by Grenfell and Hunt (of the Egyptian Exploration Society) at the site of Oxyrhynchus in 1897 at the beginning of several seasons of excavations that took place at the site from 1896-1907. The name Oxyrhynchus (meaning “bent-nose”) comes from a type of fish that was sacred to the ancient Egyptians.  […]

Carved Wooden Cup [Object of the Day #98]


By: Alyssa Kaminski

  This anthropomorphic cup is carved from wood by the culture of Bushongo. It was made in Africa in the Kasai District. The cup is in the shape of a human head with an elongated neck featuring a choker. The face has decorative markings leading down from the eyes. On the back of neck a […]

Egyptian Wand [Object of the Day #97]


By: Alyssa Kaminski

  This Egyptian wand was created sometime between 1300 and 1200 BC and was found at a Temple in Beth Shan. It is created from a hippopotamus tusk, an animal that was once native to region that is now Syria/Palestine. On the wand, is the face of Hathor, goddess of love, music, and joy. She […]

Mortuary Statue [Object of the Day #96]


By: Gabrielle Niu

This limestone mortuary sculpture is from the ancient city of Palmyra in modern-day central Syria. Michael Danti dates this ornate statue to the 3rd century CE, a time when the city of Palmyra flourished under Roman rule as an important nexus of trade between the East and West. After Syria was established as a Roman […]

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