Friday, November 6

YEAR:  2020 | Tags:  | | | |

Amos Rex, 14:23


A few years ago the Amos Anderson museum moved into the newly remade Lasipalatsi under the Rex Rio cinema, and became Amos Rex. I have intended to visit it with monotonous regularity, but never actually got there. Now I have.

We have come to see an exhibition about Ancient Egypt, full of ancient relics. Near the start of the tour I see a wooden boat, whose meaning is obscure. Too big for a toy, archeologists remain uncertain as to whether it depicts a literal voyage or an allegorical one.

I strongly believe the man in the middle of the front row has decided to take it literally.

Two things remained in my mind after we had left.

Firstly, during the course of Egyptian history their skills at mummifying dead bodies grew enormously and then declined again. The zenith of their mummy-making crafts occurred in the Third Intermediary Period, after which it declined again drastically. I found myself surprised, too, about the fact that they mummified birds, cats, dogs and snakes, as well as people.

Secondly, very few people ever went into temples. For most people the gods existed in stories but they never saw the statues or the temples in which the statues stood. Only the priests could enter. Only the priests could communicate with the gods. Everyone else remained outside of all this and just received their knowledge second hand.

I thought this stood in stark (and interesting) contrast to the practices of the medieval Christian church, which built enormous cathedrals precisely so that ordinary people should go into them and become completely overawed in the presence of god. Christian churches had designs expressly design to overawe those who entered. The Egyptians, apparently, did things differently.