Saturday, July 5, 2008 A

"Not Fake"

I read with great interest an article revealing "one third of Brooklyn Museum’s Coptic collection is fake".

"Speaking to The Art Newspaper, Dr Vikan explained that the fakes appeared to have originated from the village of Sheikh ‘Ibada (ancient Antinoöpolis), south of Cairo."

Most of them showed up in the early fifties and sixties.

"What is striking about the fakes is that they place a greater emphasis on Christian iconography than the authentic works. This reflects market demand for such imagery in Europe and North America."

I couldn't remember taking pictures of any such items at the Brooklyn Museum. They might have pulled them all, waiting until their great reveal this coming February. As a matter of fact, as I look at my images, I took only one of a Coptic piece, this one at the Met museum, which has been given a clean bill of authenticity in the article. I took it because it shows a human face in the oval of an ankh:

I took this photo because it's added proof to my idea that the ankh is not 'a sandle strap loop' as I've read somewhere. I'm thinking it is the stance of a standing human, and the various two-legged ankhs I've seen support this idea. Also, all the ankhs with human arms holding things support my idea as well. (See here and here for the graspers.)

And I found a grasper at the Met!

Arm Panel from a Chair
Dynasty 18, Reign of Thutmosis IV, ca. 1400-1391 BC
From Thebes, Valley of the Kings, KV 43
Cedar, formerly gilded, Max. H. 9 7/8 in. (25.1 cm)
Theodore M. Davis Collection, Bequest of Theodore M. Davis, 1915 (30.8.45)

In my poor photo, you can barely make out Thoth to the left. The Met museum website has a better view, that one of the other side which features the grasping ankh, as well as a sphinx:

Saturday, July 5, 2008 B

"Life Twice"

After watching disc 5 of _The Great Artists_, featuring Vermeer, Turner and Van Gogh, I felt inspired to draw. I decided on a self portrait. I plopped the mirror before me and smiled to see the scene behind it of the Coptic ankh. I remembered ANKH, the Egyptian word for "life" is also their word for "mirror". The artisans often made word pun of this, making mirrors ankh shaped. For instance, a gilded mirror shaped thusly was found in Tutankhamun's tomb.

Similar type mirrors can be had today:

So I included it in the drawing:

Another serendipity is part of the journal title, 'Life Twice', shows in the upper left. So that became the picture title!

In case you wonder what the two figures are, they are dragons. The one on top of the shelf is of iron, and the other is the little one on my computer desk.

Sunday, July 6, 2008 A

"Colorful Life Twice"

Close-up detail here

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