Fan mail for Fefi!

While he was on ‘vacation’ (and his ghost writer at conferences abroad–more on that later),  Fefi, the NCMA’s most noble and ancient blogger, received fan mail. An avid reader enquired about Fefi’s well-being and made voice offerings of bread and beer so that our favourite ancient scribe would have the energy to continue his hieroglyphic blog posts. (Seriously! I’m not kidding… the Museum received an email for Fefi and it was a brilliant missive. I loved it!)

A post–written by yours truly and made available a couple of days ago–adds to Fefi’s lessons on Egyptian hieroglyphs. You can read What’s in a Nickname? on Circa. It should keep you (and our avid reader) satisfied until Fefi resumes his blogging activities!

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Mini interview with Fefi

Members of the NCMA receive e-mails about exhibitions, programs and events as well as notices about what’s going on with the collections and galleries via the Museum blog, Circa.  In the last couple of Circa-related e-mails, members have been introduced to staff bloggers, who answered a couple of questions so you can get to know them better. Guess who was featured this time around?  Our dear ancient Egyptian friend, nobleman and scribe, Fefi!

Below is a screen shot of the e-mail I received (I am a member of the museum). The links in the image are not functional, so I have included them at the bottom of this post.

Fefi, the NCMA's most ancient and noble blogger!

Fefi, the NCMA’s most ancient and noble blogger!

Here are the links mentioned in the mini bio, latest posts: Viper, Viper, Leaf, Nobleman and Name or Nickname? That is the question! Both of these have been featured on An Archaeologist’s Diary. Actually, all of Fefi’s work has been featured!

As for Fefi’s favourite work of art in the NCMA collection, you will find it here: A Meat Stall with the Holy Family Giving Alms. Undoubtedly the meat stall reminds him of something like this (check out the NCMA painting and compare):

Pile of offerings with different cuts of meat (with leeks and bread) on a Middle Kingdom stela at the Nelson Atkins Museum in Kansas City (the paint is probably modern).  I took this picture in 2009.

Pile of offerings with different cuts of meat (with leeks and bread) on a Middle Kingdom stela at the Nelson Atkins Museum in Kansas City (the paint is probably modern). I took this picture back in 2009.

 

Fefi and Khnumti

In his third lesson, Fefi introduces us to his buddy Khnumti (hieroglyphically speaking, of course) and poses an interesting question about his name and nickname. Read the NCMA’s ancient scribe’s latest post,  Name or Nickname? That Is the Question!, and meet Khnumti.

Fefi strikes back!

The NCMA’s most ancient blogger has posted his second lesson on Circa. This time, he’s helping us decipher the spelling of his name. Go check out the post and learn a few hieroglyphs!

The NCMA editors tell me that Fefi’s first post is actually the most viewed one on the Museum blog! Not bad for a dead guy, huh?

Learn Hieroglyphs with Fefi

There is a new and fun post on Circa… written by no less than an ancient Egyptian nobleman who once was a scribe! (Or perhaps not… I might have something to do with this.)  Click on the image below to be transported to the NCMA blog and enjoy learning hieroglyphs with Caroline, I mean Fefi.

Screen shot of Fefi's first post on Circa, the Museum Blog.

Screen shot of Fefi’s first post on Circa, the Museum Blog.

Art in Bloom (Egypt)

Spring has sprung and to celebrate I thought I would share with you a couple of photos from the Museum’s Art in Bloom event, held this weekend.  Art in Bloom is exactly what it sounds like: Art. In. Bloom.  During four days the permanent galleries are delightfully decorated with superb floral arrangements that are inspired by the works of art in the collection.  Today, I am presenting the floral designs (and my impressions of them) influenced by two works of art in my Egyptian galleries.

Inspired by the False Door of NiankhSnefru, called Fefi
Floral design by Linda McLendon

Floral arrangement inspired by Fefi's False Door.

Floral arrangement inspired by Fefi’s False Door.

This was actually my favourite of the Egyptian inspired designs, although I’m not quite sure I fully see the false door in it.  (And there wasn’t a description on the label, so I really don’t know what inspired the designer.) I find the design deceptively simple and very elegant and perhaps that’s how Ms. McLendon saw the false door.  The white flowers certainly speak to the door’s unfinished state and the colour of the limestone.

Detail of Linda McLendon's floral design.

Detail of Linda McLendon’s floral design.

 

And I absolutely loved the vases—they have an Asian look, undoubtedly the reason why I was attracted to them. It’s actually hard to see on the photo featuring both the flowers and the false door together, so here’s a close-up. I have to admit, this photo does not do justice to the piece. You don’t see the wonderful colours of the wooden vases and the crispness of the blooms.  They are very precise, like the hieroglyphs on the door.

 

 

Inspired by the Bust of Sekhmet
Floral design by Karl H. Hastings, Jr.

Floral arrangement inspired by the goddess Sekhmet.

Floral arrangement inspired by the goddess Sekhmet.

I’ll be honest with you: this design did not strike my fancy. Actually none of the ones with flattened flowers or top heavy designs grabbed me.  The designer’s poetic description of the ‘ goddess of war and healing from a parched and weary land’ is also opposite of my impression of this powerful deity and the civilisation I love so  much. I see Sekhmet as a wild creature that can be tamed on occasion, two opposites that complement each other. She vibrant and full of energy, none of which I feel in this design.

And while Egypt is surrounded by desert cliffs and may appear lifeless to many, the flood plain and marshes are filled with amazing wildlife life and flora so beautifully depicted on the walls of ancient Egyptian tombs.  Herodotus said it, Egypt is a gift of the Nile… it is full of life and promise.

May the False Door be with You

I have just posted my most recent adventures to my (other) blog, La Vida Aegyptiaca.  You find there a description of my trip to Italy in the second half of July (especially my activities in Rome, Naples and Florence), but I did want to show you some pictures and share some anecdotes of my time in Montepulciano, working with my colleague Egyptologist Francesco Tiradritti. Francesco and I are writing an article concerning two false doors (the first in the Egyptian collection in Raleigh, the other in a private collection in Rome), each belonging to men from the same family involved with the funerary cult of King Pepy I.

Last year, Francesco came to look at our false door and give the Weinberg Lecture. We started planning the article, but I still had to see the false door in Rome. After lots of scheduling problems we managed to find time when we were both available and that’s how I spent a week in Montepulciano with the Tiradrittis (I was actually staying at a lovely farm house, but spending the day with them). Working with Francesco is always great fun (we laugh a lot), but this trip was beyond hysterically funny. His adorable young son is obsessed with Star Wars and our writing of the article was done to the Imperial March and the Star Wars theme (sung by Leonida, of course) and the sounds of ‘pistolina’ firing at enemies and battle droids accepting orders.

On rainy days (there were quite a few), I worked with Francesco in his library and we listened to the Star Wars soundtrack (courtesy of my iPod this time around). We even staged a photo of us working, surrounded by Star Wars figurines. (I say staged because I sat at the desk in the photo, but his was in a different nook.) I had lunch with Darth Vader, who agreed to cut the pecorino with his light saber (actually, it’s Obi-Wan’s light saber; Darth lost his a long time ago).

When the weather was nice, I escaped the cats—Sakura and the newly adopted and unbelievably cute kitten, Perseo (renamed El Tigre by yours truly)—and sat on the veranda overlooking the Tuscan valleys and Montepulciano to breathe some fresh air (which helped a bit with my allergies). I had to clear the table when Maria had to set it so we could eat. It was so lovely outside that we gathered there to partake of Olivia’s fabulous cooking.

It’s quite astounding that with all these distractions that Francesco and I got any work done, but we did. Getting away from the office is actually when I’m most productive in writing articles: there is only one project on which to work and working in a team forces you to get things done to keep up with your colleagues. Oh! Don’t go thinking that the article is completely finished, not by a long shot; but at least we actually started writing—which is a very good start! Now, we just need to keep the momentum.

May the False Door be with You!