Saturday, February 26, 2011

London - Petrie Museum and a Tower twilight tour

The Petrie Museum was a must on my list, after all, I spent so much time in it when I was studying at the UCL. Back then I didn't have a digital camera to take photos in the badly illuminated Petrie Museum. So I hoped I could get my hands on some pieces I really liked back then, like the magic wands. Of course the exhibition had changed since then and the magic wands were not on display. No reason to despair, since it was filled with beautiful artefacts from all time periods to compensate for. Here are some objects I thought to be very interesting.
Since I especially like the Amarna period, here a limestone piece from the central palace in Tell el-Amarna showing Akhenaton, Nefertiti and one of their daughters:

This painted wooden stela is exceptionally well preserved. It belonged to Neskhons, the wife of the high priest Pinedjem II (21. Dynasty). Note the high tech in the Petrie Museum, if you have a reader for this bar code you can get all the information on your blackberry or i-phone or whatever.

This figurine appears very modern but this red pottery figurine with tattoo from Qua cemetery 100, is dated to 5020-2835 BC:

Naqada I pottery is always enjoyble because of their beautiful motifs especially the boat scenes:

But also late Period faience hedgehogs do have their charm as you can see with this globular perfume bottle (aryballos):

Although there were no magic wands, they at least had a lot of other ivory objects on display like this jackal headed clappr from Diospolis (6th or 7th Dynasty):

A most fascinating object was this serpent tripod (Naqada II) from a predynastic tomb:

It was also a highlight to see a fragment of the pyramid texts of Pepy I from his pyramid in Saqara (6th Dynasty). You can see the name of Pepy in the cartouches; his name appears quite often:

This bead-net dress made of faience beads is one of the finest objects in the Petrie Museum. Whether it was actually made for a dancing girl or not, it is at least the earliest surviving example of a bead-net dress at all. It is from the 5th Dynasty and was found in Qau.

I had a quick linner (too late for lunch, too early for dinner) at the Carnevale, a vegetarian restaurant with mediterranean cuisine. Their tomato-fennel soup was delicious and I will try to re-create it at home. The potato cakes with vegetables provencales weren't bad either.
Thus invigorated, I was ready for a twilight Tower tour. A Yeoman Warder, a beefeater, guided us through the nightly Tower of London.

Of course he told us all about murder, treason, and torture at the Tower. However, he refused to tell us about the ghosts of the tower, since he personally hasn't seen a single ghost although he has been living on the Tower premises for quite some time. But then, Arbella Stuarts ghost (Arabella was murdered at the Tower in 1615) seems to concentrate on haunting women anyway.

After we made it safely through the Tower and without encountering a ghost I went to the tube station to get back to my B&B. So here a last photo from the art at Tower Hill station, the Tower ravens:


  1. nice tower bridge pic btw

  2. I hope they were just sleeping :)
    and thanks, I like that pic, too. Tower Bridge looks awesome, day and night.