Amun-Ra Sailing Under the Starry Sky

My second favourite profession I would have gone for if I had the choice when I was young? Marine archaeologist.

I just mention this because in the past half-year I was haunting the now closing Sunken Cities: Egypt’s Lost Worlds exhibition of the British Museum which told the story of Thonis-Heracleion and Canopus, two cities that sank into the Mediterranean Sea (in Aboukir Bay, previously only known to me as the place where Nelson defeated the French). The site is being excavated by the team of Franck Goddio – the marine archaeologist who seems to get to excavate all the best sunken things in the world. (This is envy speaking.)

I saw this pectoral, an ornamental breastplate, of Amun-Ra (the King of Gods & Sun King), made of lapis lazuli and gold, in the exhibition:

Amun-Ra Sailing Under the Starry Sky
Amun-Ra Sailing Under the Starry Sky (A British Museum postcard)
Pectoral, 22nd dysnasty (reign of Sheshong I, 943-922 BC)
Gold, lapis lazuli, glass paste
H 37.5 x W 19 cm
Egyptian Museum, Cairo JE 72171
Christoph Gerigk © Franck Goddio/HILTI Foundation

Mr Anglo-Saxonist – who had actually been to Egypt – says that he saw just such starry skies painted on the ceiling of a temple in Dendera; I now put the Temple of Hathor on my list of places to see before I die! Is it possible that the Egyptians used a paint made out of lapis lazuli in the painting of that temple? Considering the amount of paint needed, surely it would have been prohibitively expensive?!

I was going to tell you loads about Sunken Cities but I found this blog when I was googling for the link to the exhibition page of the museum: written by a curator of the British Museum, with all the great images I have no access to and a wealth of information – I can’t compete! (I particularly recommend the underwater picture of the Dark Queen.) Enjoy.

You might also like:
Images of the Temple of Hathor, DenderaSunken Cities: Egypt's Lost Worlds by the British Museum
⇒ The Harper's Song: Enjoying Life after Death in Ancient Egypt
The Secret of the Greek Galley (the Antikythera shipwreck)

4 thoughts on “Amun-Ra Sailing Under the Starry Sky

  1. Thanks so much for linking to my blog post! Much appreciated. I have to stress that, although I do work at the BM, I’m not in the Egyptian department and so have no more privileged access than anyone else. I got all the photos off the internet 🙂

    It was such a marvellous show though, wasn’t it? And I can say that with absolutely no fear of a conflict of interest, because I don’t know anyone who worked on it *grins*

    Liked by 1 person

    1. It’s was a great exhibition, I went and saw it four times – the benefit of being a member! 🙂 And your article of it is very good.

      I never dare to take photos off the internet unless they’re explicitly labelled public domain or creative commons – I find the minutiae of the copyright laws rather confusing.


      1. It’s true, it can be tricky to know what can be used and what can’t. The way I see it, if something has been published as a press image, there’s no harm in using it because we’re effectively giving the exhibition greater publicity. If it’s not an official photo, then I sometimes link to where I found it, so that the photographer gets their proper credit. Nevertheless, it’s a minefield!

        Liked by 1 person

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