A colleague who is not an Egyptologist asked me for suggestions of videos to show her students as part of the course she is developing on ancient Egypt. Nothing really came to mind, so I turned to Egyptological friends for ideas. One of them suggested this wonderful short film by Shadi Abdel Salam, The Eloquent Peasant. The tale of The Eloquent Peasant dates to the Middle Kingdom (circa 2040-1782 BCE) and is a text students have to translate in Middle Egyptian class. It is really a story that “illustrates the value [ancient Egyptian] society placed on the concept of justice and equality”.
Having translated said text back in uni but having never seen the movie, I decided to take a look… and it is stunningly beautiful, elegant and simple. I really wish my Arabic were much better so I could enjoy the eloquent speech… but you do not need to understand Arabic to appreciate it. I might try reading a translation of the text (which you can find in Miriam Lichtheim’s Ancient Egyptian Literature Volume I: The Old and Middle Kingdoms) while watching the movie.
This little clip just made my day. Enjoy.
I am revising my plan for ARCHAEO-Crush posts… Clearly, my busy schedule cannot accommodate one post per month, so I am trying one per season. (Let’s see how that goes.) My ARCHAEO-Crush for winter 2019 is from a civilisation better known for its geoglyphs…
Loads of Nazca ceramics!
Trying to get a closer shot!
These are spiders that look remarkably like ants!!! But count the legs… there are 8, so spider it is!
Look at that friendly mien!
How cute is this little crab? (He looks a little sad, actually.)
Some cute… bugs? Shrimp? (Has a Precambrian-like feel that I like.)
Type: artefact (ceramics)
Civilisation: Peruvian, Nazca (also spelled Nasca)
Date: 200 BCE and 600 CE
ARCHAEO-Crush: This is really an archaeological crush because I don’t really know anything about the Nazca culture of ancient Peru. When I became curator of ancient art, I suddenly found myself in charge of archaeological collections from the Ancient Americas, artefacts from cultures I had never studied at uni or others I knew about from a television show I absolutely loved as a kid. I have since been paying more attention to these amazing civilisations and their material culture. I knew of the Nazca geoglyphs (aka the ‘Nazca Lines‘), but had never seen other materials produced by the Nazca people until recently (not every museum has a collection of ancient American art and amongst those not all include Nazca art).
I immediately fell in love with Nazca ceramics the second I laid eyes on them. They are the most colourful vessels I have ever seen (in earth tones, no less!) and decorated with incredibly adorable (and occasionally unexpected) figures and designs. The selection above are from the Milwaukee Public Museum (an unexpectedly stunning museum by the way!), the Field Museum in Chicago and the San Antonio Museum of Art. Seriously cute, don’t you think?
Bucket list status: One day I’ll get to Peru and will see the Nazca Lines (and other things); in the meantime I will enjoy the ceramics in museum collections.
Additional information: This is a nice little article in the Ancient History Encyclopedia about of the Nazca civilisation.