Part 3: British Museum


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The Trip

We decided to visit the British Museum.  We walked as it was pretty close to our hotel.  After arriving, we were struck with a sense of awe.  First due to the intense crowds and second due to the size and scope of the facility.  Many one word adjectives crossed my mind like "wow", "immense", "astounding" and the like.

The Photos

The photos below are what we saw.

The entrance foyer was immense and there were tons of visitors.  It was Sunday and the tour buses were arriving at a furious pace disgorging waves of tourists from all countries.

Kathleen decided that we would start with the Egyptian exhibit.  The artifacts were impressive and the scope extensive.  This bust suffered quite a bit of damage over the years but it was not clear if the damage was due to excavation and transport or was done earlier by grave robbers.

Some of the damage was just due to the passage of time.

Noting the neck, this bust was removed from a larger piece for transport to the museum.

This column was part of the structural support of one of the palaces.  The crowds were sufficiently thick to make taking photos quite hard.

Manny, Moe and Jack.

There was a huge lintel that was clearly broken into segments for transport to the museum.

This sarcophagus was massive and fully intact.  It is made out of red granite.

Given the early date of creation, the workmanship of the artists was incredible.

This statue was intact and impressive due to its size.  Transport must have been very difficult.

Due to the intense crowding in the Egyptian exhibit we moved on to the Assyrian area.  This statue is massive and covered in cuneiform writing declaring how great the king was.

These pieces were a relief to see.

Most of the reliefs were adorned with repetitive cuneiform statements about the greatness of the current ruler.

The patterns of the hair and beards were a hallmark of this period.

This relief did not fare well in the excavation and transport to the museum.  Many depicted scenes of hunting.  This scene shows use of a net to capture deer.

Lion hunts were a repeating theme on many of the larger pieces.

We moved on to the Greek exhibit and were rewarded with even denser crowds.  This piece is in quite good shape except for whatever she was holding in her hand.

This fellow has suffered many indignities and many of the male statues were missing noses in addition to other obvious damage.  I wonder if the missing noses were the source of the term "being defaced".

Carving the intense detail in these works must have been very, very time consuming and required a great deal of skill.

These boys are headed into battle with their sheilds.

During the excavation of one of the sites, the whole temple was dismantled and shipped to the museum.  While some may call this cultural rape or robbery, I think it was a direct result of the power of their empire at the time.

These works were highly detailed.

There were a number of panels that showed battle with a minotaur.  This fellow is about to be beheaded and is grabbing a rock in his left hand as the last act of defense.

I found the striations of the facial muscles interesting and very life-like.

We moved higher in the museum and got a view of the crowds from the circular staircase.

The second portion of the Egyptian exhibit was on the upper floors.  The crowds here were so tight that this was the only photo I was able to take.  The large number of people in the tight quarters raised the temperature in the room to an uncomfortable level given our attire.

This bust was in perfect condition except for the discoloration which was likely water damage.

We moved to the upper levels of the museum to escape the dense crowds and that there was an exhibit of Napoleonic cartoons generally lampooning his rule.  The exhibit was quite dark due to fear of light discoloring the old ink and paper, but this panel was representative of many of the works.

We finally saturated and started looking for the exit.  We left on an alternate route than our ingress and stumbled upon this huge Buddha.

The British Museum is, in my opinion, one of the greatest museums on the planet.  In many aspects it is "excessively excessive" but the achievements chronicled within are undeniable.  I left wondering how many days would be required to see the full museum.

Next, lunch was on the menu and then the Transportation Museum.

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