This page includes information that may not reflect the current views and values of the Penn Museum.

egypt gods + goddesses egypt galleries egypt expeditions egypt home
museum sitemap museum search contact the websiters museum homepage

Bronze mirror
Bronze mirror (E10312), Dynasty 18 (1539-1292 B.C.).

Scarab seal
Scarab seal (E13055), made of steatite and gold, Mid-Dynasty 18-Dynasty 19 (1479-1190 B.C.).

Gallery Tour

in Ancient Egypt

The artifacts preserved in the University of Pennsylvania's (UPM) Egyptian collection provide significant information on the many facets of the daily life of the ancient Egyptians. The material comes from actual town and settlement excavations as well as from funerary contexts where objects of daily life were often deposited for use in the afterlife.

Mirrors were made from bronze and the reflecting surface would have been highly polished to allow its owner to see his or her image reflected. The handles of ancient Egyptian mirrors were often highly decorative and may have had amuletic significance. Papyrus plants were common handle motifs from the Middle Kingdom onward. Young, naked women appear on handles from the New Kingdom, and are often shown holding offerings that symbolize fertility

The ancient Egyptians are well known for their beautiful jewelry. Goldsmiths and jewelers created spectacular necklaces, collars, bracelets, and rings for wealty individuals using gold, silver, electrum (a natural alloy of gold and silver), and semi-precious stones such as lapis lazuli, carnelian, and turquoise. Attractive imitations of these more costly materials were also produced out of faience, a man-made glazed quartzite paste that could be molded into beads of amulets.

Models were very popular in tombs of the Middle Kingdom and display aspects of daily life in Ancient Egypt. These figures were placed in the tomb as magical replacements for the real things for use by the tomb owner in the afterlife and may have served a similar function to the two dimensional scenes of everyday life carved and painted on tomb walls. Models of butchering, granaries, and boats were common.

Wine Jars
The Ancient Egyptians were fond of wine and beer and often included requests for both in their offering prayers and menu lists found in tombs. Both wine and beer were used in religious and other rituals as well as in the everyday diet. The large wine jar to the left is from the tomb of a woman named Minedjem and contained two different types of wine. The hieroglyphic labels identify the variety of wine. Pottery of this type, with blue-painted floral decoration, is characteristic of the late 18th and early 19th Dynasties.


Egypt Home | Expeditions Past and Present | Gallery Tour | Gods and Goddesses