The Israel Museum, Jerusalem
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About the Israel Museum, Jerusalem

The Israel Museum is the largest cultural institution in the State of Israel and is ranked among the world’s leading art and archaeology museums. Founded in 1965, the Museum houses encyclopedic collections, including works dating from prehistory to the present day, in its Archaeology, Fine Arts, and Jewish Art and Life Wings, and features the most extensive holdings of biblical and Holy Land archaeology in the world.

The Museum is celebrating its 50th anniversary throughout 2015, with a year-long program devoted to an exploration of Israel’s aesthetic culture in the 50 years before and after its founding

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Rachel Schechter
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First Ever Exhibition Exploring Rich Cross-Cultural Dialogue between

Egypt and Canaan during 2nd Millennium BCE

Opens at Israel Museum in March 2016

Unprecedented Display of Approximately 680 Ancient Artifacts
Illustrates Untold Story of Exchange

 

Jerusalem, Israel (January 17, 2016)—A major exhibition opening at the Israel Museum will provide audiences with an unprecedented opportunity to explore the cross-cultural ties between Egypt and Canaan during the second millennium BCE. On view March 4 through October 25, 2016, Pharaoh in Canaan: The Untold Story presents more than 680 objects that reflect the cross-fertilization of ritual practices and aesthetic vocabularies between these two distinct ancient cultures. From large-scale royal victory stelae and anthropoid coffins to scarabs and amulets, the display features an array of archaeological artifacts discovered in Israel and Egypt—including many drawn from the Museum’s own collections, together with major loans from the Metropolitan Museum of Art, N.Y.; the Louvre Museum, Paris; the Kunsthistorisches Museum; Vienna; the Egyptian Museum in Turin, Italy; and numerous other collections.

“This exhibition explores a crucial, yet forgotten chapter in the history of ancient civilizations. Pharaoh in Canaan tells the revelatory story of the cross-cultural dynamics between Canaan and Egypt and the resulting and often astonishing aesthetic, ritual, and cultural affinities that developed between these two distinct peoples,” said James S. Snyder, the Anne and Jerome Fisher Director of the Israel Museum. “It is especially appropriate that the Israel Museum tell this remarkable archaeological story from its setting in Jerusalem and with its rich collections that trace the ancient roots of the region around us.”

The story of Egypt and Canaan is most commonly known from the biblical narratives of Joseph and Moses in Egypt. The exhibition expands this story by examining two crucial periods in history: the settlement and rise of a Canaanite dynasty in the eastern Egyptian Delta during the Middle Bronze Age (circa 1700-1550 BCE); and the extended period of Egyptian rule over Canaan by the Pharaohs during the Late Bronze Age (circa 1500-1150 BCE), both of which led to the commingling of deities, arts, rituals, and technologies between the two cultures.

The exhibition will feature a variety of Egyptian and Egyptian-inspired objects from Canaanite sites as well as illustrative objects from Egypt, ranging from large-scale architectural reconstructions to small-scale personal effects.

Exhibition highlights include:

Egyptian Scarabs: Bearing divine and royal names and images, these objects were found in Canaanite tombs, reflecting the adaptation of Egyptian burial customs by the local Canaanite elite.

Egyptian Private Stelae: Made locally by Egyptians stationed at the Canaanite site of Beth Shean, these stelae depict Egyptians worshipping Canaanite gods, among them the goddess Anat, who was also worshipped in Egypt at that same time, and the god Mekal, a local god of Beth Shean.

Fragment of a Monumental Sphinx of Mycerinus: The only Old Kingdom royal statue found in the Levantine region, this fragment was likely an official gift either to a local ruler or to the temple at Hazor when it was a site of great power during the Late Bronze Age.

Tutankhamun Inscribed Solid Gold Ring: The only object excavated in Israel bearing the name of this king, the ring was found in an elaborate tomb in Tell el-`Ajjul together with other Egyptian and Egyptian-style jewelry that reflects the local emulation of Egyptian aesthetic traditions.

Statue of Ramesses III: Placed in a temple at Beth Shean—one of the most important Egyptian strongholds in Canaan during the time of the empire—this is the only evidence of a locally made royal statue in Canaan—and a stunning example of Egyptian cultic activity in Canaanite temples.

Royal Stelae: Two stelae of Seti I erected at Beth Shean commemorate victorious military campaigns of the king to suppress local rebellions and reinforce Egyptian control over Canaan.

Anthropoid Coffins: Locally made Egyptian-style clay coffins, found mainly at Egyptian sites in Canaan, served both Egyptians stationed at these bases as well as Canaanites working in their service.

Exhibition Organization and Catalogue:
Pharaoh in Canaan: The Untold Story is curated by Dr. Daphna Ben-Tor, Jeannette and Jonathan Rosen Curator of Egyptian Archaeology, and Dr. Eran Arie, Frieder Burda Curator of Iron Age and Persian Period Archaeology. The exhibition is accompanied by a comprehensive catalogue in Hebrew and English with introductory chapters arranged chronologically and thematically, each accompanied by associated object entries, and two appendices dealing with the Biblical narrative and with the birth of the Alphabet. The exhibition is made possible in part by The William Davidson Foundation, Troy, MI.


Israel Museum Announces 2016 Exhibition Highlights

Exhibitions in Archaeology, Fine Arts, and Architecture 
Reflect on Cross-Cultural Exchange Spanning Millennia


Jerusalem (January 7, 2015) –The Israel Museum, Jerusalem today announced its upcoming program of exhibitions for 2016, following the conclusion of its 50th Anniversary celebrations throughout 2015. From focused presentations of international contemporary artists to exhibitions exploring cross-cultural themes, the Museum’s 2016 program embraces topics spanning continents, genres, and time periods.

Opening on March 4 as a centerpiece of the Museum’s 2016 season, Pharaoh in Canaan: The Untold Story marks the first-ever exhibition to explore the cross-cultural ties between Egypt and Canaan during the second millennium BCE through an unprecedented display of more than 650 ancient artifacts. Featuring objects discovered in Egypt and Israel, the exhibition illuminates the cross-fertilization of ritual practices and aesthetic vocabularies between these two distinct ancient cultures. On view beginning July 1, Architecture in Palestine during the British Mandate (1917-1948) extends into the 20th century this same exploration of how distinct cultures can coalesce to inform the development of new cultural expressions by highlighting the transformative impact of early European modernism on the development of architecture in Palestine during the British Mandate.

“The notion of cross-cultural dialogue goes right to the heart of everything we do at the Israel Museum, resonating deeply with the rich narratives of aesthetic interchange found throughout our encyclopedic collections,” said James S. Snyder, Anne and Jerome Fisher Director of the Israel Museum. “In 2016, we are exploring this theme to showcase the ongoing phenomenon of cultural and aesthetic exchange that has marked the history of civilization and that continues worldwide today.” 

 

             Georges Adéagbo, Preparatory installation, 2015

Highlights from the 2016 season include:

Georges Adéagbo: Africa in Jerusalem, February 17 - May 6, 2016
Benin-based artist Georges Adéagbo creates a site-specific installation for the Israel Museum’s Focus Gallery. A strong, distinctive voice in the contemporary art world since the mid-1990s, Adéagbo’s floor and wall installations present a complex network of concepts and associations reflected in materials collected during extensive stays in Israel and Benin. Using his own texts, found objects, and books, as well as paintings and sculptures created by his studio colleagues in Cotonou, Adéagbo constructs complex collages—termed by him as “Horizontal Archaeology”—that explore how individuals interpret cultures and the history of a place based on their own experiences. For his installation at the Israel Museum, the artist traveled throughout Israel, merging findings from his trip with his own idiosyncratic narratives and visual associations. 

The exhibition is curated by Rita Kersting, Landeau Family Curator of Contemporary Art. 

Canaanite amulet, schematic nude goddess in Egyptian style,
Tell el-Ajjul, 15th century BCE

Pharaoh in Canaan: The Untold Story, March 4 – October 25, 2016

Pharaoh in Canaan tells the highly revelatory and previously untold story of the rich cross-cultural ties between Egypt and Canaan during the second millennium BCE. The exhibition presents more than 680 objects demonstrating the cross-fertilization of ritual practices and aesthetic vocabularies between these two distinct ancient cultures. From large-scale royal victory steles and anthropoid coffins to scarabs and amulets, the exhibition features an array of archaeological artifacts discovered in Israel and Egypt—including many drawn from the Museum’s own collections, together with major loans from the Metropolitan Museum of Art, NY; the Louvre Museum, Paris; the Kunsthistorisches Museum; Vienna; the Egyptian Museum in Turin, Italy; and other collections.

The exhibition is curated by Dr. Daphna Ben-Tor, Jeannette and Jonathan Rosen Curator of Egyptian Archaeology, and Dr. Eran Arie, Frieda Burda Curator of Iron Age and Persian Periods.

As companions to Pharaoh in Canaan: The Untold Story, the Museum will present three concurrent exhibitions in Jewish Art and Life, European Art, and Israeli Art, examining Egypt’s cultural and aesthetic impact across the centuries. These include The Allure of the Sphinx Egypt in European Art (March 4 – October 25, 2016); The Second Exodus from Egypt: 1950-1960s (March 4 – October 25, 2016); and Yitzhak Danziger: Return to Canaanite Identity (May 22 – September 10, 2016).