A Closer Look at March/April 2018
Pictured: The bust of the colossal statue of the god Hapy has been strapped with webbings before being cautiously raised out of the water of Aboukir Bay, Egypt; IEASM Excavations, Photo: Christoph Gerigk © Franck Goddio/Hilti Foundation
Letter from the editor-in-chief, Carrie Edelstein
The first major project I remember being assigned in grade school was to create an Egyptian-style pyramid, filled with all of the treasures I would take to an after life. I quickly became enchanted with anything to do with King Tut. I copied hieroglyphics as best I could from our Encyclopedia collection in the basement in an attempt to describe my then present life and likes. I made a sarcophagus and painted it gold, creating a mummy out of clay to place inside. From that assignment well into adulthood, I thought I had a unique connection to anything related to Egypt.
After touring the newly opened Egyptian Gallery at the Saint Louis Art Museum, it finally hit me that these ancient antiquities and the rich history must fascinate us all, perhaps even connecting us as human beings. The new gallery has interactive displays showing the CT Scans of three mummies, allowing visitors to browse through 3-dimensional images of the skeletal frames remaining of those who were wrapped so delicately thousands of years ago. It’s the first time we have insight as to how burial rituals evolved over time, and it’s clear to see how different members of society were honored as we look to art to learn about history. As if that weren’t enough, it blew my mind when I saw the first images of the humongous sculptures recently pulled out of the ocean that reveal more about life in ancient Egypt. Even more amazing is how they came from the ocean, got sent to Europe, and have ended up in St. Louis (see Sunken Cities, pg. 66).
The elusive concept of time is baffling, how our own lives can seem to pass so quickly, and yet the calendar shows decades have passed in front of our eyes. We can preserve our memories and our legacies with a handful of items to be passed from generation to generation. One of my favorite parts about scouting homes that couples have “downsized” to is to see what is kept from the past and what is purchased or revitalized in an attempt to brighten the future. Joan Lerch describes what is collected and cherished in this issue’s home feature (pg. 20). And it’s ironic how letting go can clear up the space both mentally and logistically to enjoy the present, evolving to a newer life.
It seems “things” are less important as time passes, and those who have impacted our lives the most are what’s celebrated and cherished. Zoe Robinson has created a mini-neighborhood of eateries that are each a tribute to someone special. Her third restaurant on the block honors her parents (see Billie-Jean pg. 12).
Just a few weeks ago, there was news that a “new” tomb was discovered near the pyramids in Egypt. “New” in that it’s likely 4,400 years old, but new to our eyes. I’ll be anxious to read the details as they emerge of what was inside, how it was found and how many more pyramids could still be waiting to be discovered. My younger self put ice skates, a Sony Walkman and a lot of pretend gold coins in my pyramid. What would you take to your after life if you lived in ancient Egypt?
I'd love to know.