This exhibit features a variety of a variety of artifacts once used by ancient peoples seeking to fulfill desires through supernatural means. See amulets, incantation bowls, curse tablets, rings and other items from ancient Egypt, Mesopotamia, Greece and Rome.
By means of photographs, posters, and ephemera, "Timely Exhibits of Interest to Everyone" surveys a century of public exhibitions at the Penn Museum, 1890-1990. Presented in conjunction with the University of Pennsylvania's Year of Media, the exhibition explores how styles of display have changed over the decades.
Nimrud. Aleppo. Palmyra. Ebla. These ancient sites and many others in Iraq and Syria have found their way to the top of international news today, as the destruction of cultural heritage becomes both a by-product and a tactic of ongoing war. This new exhibition, created in conjunction with the Penn Cultural Heritage Center, sheds light on the ongoing destruction of cultural heritage in the Middle East by showing what's at stake- the rich history of the region and the diversity of its people-and what's being done to prevent the loss of this history and cultural identity. Fascinating ancient art and artifacts from the Penn Museum's extensive Near East collection tell stories of the cultures of Syria and Iraq through time. Contemporary artwork from Issam Kourbaj, a Syrian artist based in Cambridge, UK, provides an art intervention-a modern-day response to the artifacts and themes. The exhibition features the important work being done by the University of Pennsylvania and Smithsonian Institution in conjunction with individuals and groups in the Middle East to help combat the loss of irreplaceable cultural heritage.
Dr. Deven Patel, Associate Professor, Department of South Asia Studies, University of Pennsylvania, offers this Great Beasts lecture. The Beast in early South Asia runs the gamut of imaginative possibilities. Visualized in mythological literature and the plastic arts, unique and yet oddly recognizable Beings bubbled up for centuries from the psychic depths of Indian peoples. This presentation highlights some of the great Beasts of these lands-menacing demons; divine emanations both majestic and hideous; sublime animals that defy all expectations; and hybrid human/animal forms shuttling between mortal and immortal worlds. Special attention is given to the distinctive ways these imaginings continue to shape the culture of this region.
Back by popular demand this sipping and sleuthing event is sponsored by the Penn Museum Young Friends. After sipping on fine wines, guests can join the action in a new scavenger hunt through the Museum's galleries. Guests can show up solo to meet new people, or attend with a team of up to four friends. Prizes await for winners of the scavenger hunt through history.
The Penn Museum's popular sleepover program, geared to ages 6 to 12 and their families or chaperones, invites guests on an overnight "expedition" of the Museum. The night's activities take intrepid explorers on a journey through time and across continents, with hands-on games, crafts, and more. A scavenger hunt and a flashlight expedition through the galleries offer new ways to connect with the ancient artifacts awaiting discovery. Later in the night, explorers roll out their sleeping bags to doze at the foot of the largest granite Sphinx in the Western Hemisphere.
Dr. Adam Smith, Assistant Curator, Asian Section, offers the final lecture in the Great Beasts series. The earliest examples of monumental stone sculpture from East Asia in the Penn Museum are the two Winged Lions that confront one another across the space of the Chinese Rotunda. A tradition of large-scale stone sculpture in China appears rather late, and suddenly, at around the time the Penn Winged Lions were carved in the 2nd or 3rd century CE. These examples are unmistakably Chinese in style, but by the time they were made, Winged Lions had long been in use across Eurasia. The process by which winged felines reached China is complex and not fully understood, but their arrival is unmistakably part of a package of innovations that included rock-cut and masonry architecture, fluted stone columns, the first translations into Chinese of Buddhist literature, and the first Chinese representations of the Buddha.