University of Pennsylvania Museum of Archaeology and Anthropology

Archives Photo of the Week: Penn Relays


By: Eric Schnittke

April 24th marks the start of the 2014 Penn Relays. For those unfamiliar, the Penn Relays is the oldest and largest track and field event in the United States. The event is held annually at Franklin Field, which is directly across from the Penn Museum. The archives is one of the wings closest to the field, […]

Family Statue [Object of the Day #122]


By: admin

  Dating to the Middle Kingdom, this basalt statuette depicts a family group, with the mother (Sneferu) and father (Hetep-Sekhmet) on the left, and two son (Ankhu and Pepi) on the right. The left arm of each of the three males is placed across the chest, and each of the left hands grasps a bolt […]

Seated Statue of Ramesses II [Object of the Day #113]

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By: Jennifer Houser Wegner

Of all of the Egyptian pharaohs, perhaps none can be said to be as productive as Ramses II.  Ramses II was the pharaoh who would have one of the longest recorded reigns — sixty-seven years, would fight more battles, and would produce more statuary and construct more buildings than any other ruler of ancient Egypt.  […]

Statue of Maitreya [Object of the Day #106]


By: Stephen Lang

This gilt bronze statuette is of Maitreya, also known as “the compassionate one” and the Buddha of the future. It dates to the Eastern Wei Dynasty (534-550 CE) but is typical of the Northern Wei style which is characterized by its front facing orientation and flowing Chinese robes. The statue rests on a four-sided, four-legged […]

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 […]

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 […]

Sandstone Statue [Object of the Day #88]


By: admin

While this sandstone statue of Sitepihu dates to the Eighteenth Dynasty (around 1470 BCE), the block figure itself was a type that was introduced at the beginning of the Twelfth Dynasty (around 1900 BCE), several hundred years earlier.  It represents a squatting male figure with a long cloak enveloping his entire body.  His arms are […]

Standing Buddha [Object of the Day #65]


By: Alyssa Kaminski

This haloed Buddha was made in the ancient city of Gandhara in modern day Pakistan/Afghanistan in the 2nd Century AD. He stands on a plinth carved with two rosettes. His missing hands would have been held in mudras or hand gestures representing reassurance and wish fulfillment. The style of the flowing robe and curvy hair is […]

Statue of a Yogini [Object of the Day- #60]


By: Ashley Harper

This bust is a life sized carving, in the round. You can see damaged areas have erased details that would have included a fuller, articulated chest and more developed arms.  It was found at the temple of 64 Yoginis in Jabalpur, in the state of Madhya Pradesh (central India). A Yogini can embody a range […]

Spirit Spouse Sculpture [Object of the Day #55]


By: Alyssa Kaminski

The statue represents a Spirit Wife. In Baule culture, both men and women are thought to have spirit spouses, supernatural husbands and wives that must be cherished before accepting a human husband or wife. A Spirit Wife is known as a Bloto Bla and a Spirit Husband is called a Bloto Bain. In order to appease […]

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