Richard & Stacy's Round the World Trip 2001

Up
The Harem
The Fourth Courtyard
The Arms and Armour Exhibition
The Divan
The Hellenic Collection
The Ancient Orient Collection

The main part of the archeological collection in the museum is classical Hellenic art. One whole wing of the museum is dedicated to Hellenic sculpture, busts, facades and statuary.

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Two busts of Alexander the Great.   A bust of Zeus, thought to be taken from the Temple of Zeus.

Statues are spread throughout the wing, statues of Gods, heroes and Roman emperors:

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A statue of Alexander the Great. A statue of Hadrian.
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A statue of Zeus, a little low on arms. Another statue of Zeus, this one in better condition.

The highlight of the entire museum's collection is a group of sarcophagi unearthed in 1887 at Sidon (present-day Lebanon). It is believed that these sarcophagi were made for a line of Phoenician kings who ruled in the 6th to 4th centuries BC. The decoration of the sarcophagi shows the transition of Egyptian to Greek influence in the art of the Near East at the time.

The greatest of all these sarcophagi is the so-called Alexander Sarcophagus (4th century BC). The sarcophagus has high-relief friezes are all four sides, almost perfectly intact after 2,500 years! In fact, some of the originally colouring of the figures in the friezes is still in place, although all the metal weapons the various characters were holding have long corroded to dust.

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The Alexander Sarcophagus, showing one of the long high-relief friezes. This is the battle scene.   One end of the Alexander Sarcophagus. The blue light between the top and bottom of the sarcophagus is a reflection of the lighting off the Plexiglas cover over the sarcophagus.
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The other long side of the sarcophagus shows hunting scenes in the frieze.    The far narrow end of the Alexander Sarcophagus, notice the bright colouring still on the characters in the lid portion! 

The other famous sarcophagi is the Sarcophagus of the Mourning Women. Apparently it was made for a king that was rather "famous" with the women. The friezes of the women on the sarcophagus are supposed to be his wives and concubines who are rather upset about the king's death.

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The backside of the sarcophagus, still showing some of the original colour.   The opposite side of the sarcophagus, showing more mourning women.

In the same room with the two "famous" sarcophagi is a third example, not named like the others, apparently an older design but still amazingly intact.

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The long side of the third sarcophagus in the collection, showing a scene of battle.   The narrow end of the sarcophagus, showing combat between two centaurs, and a pair of female sphinxes on top.

The final Hellenic display in the museum is the facade from the Temple of Athena. Only a handful of the stones in the facade are actually from the real temple - the rest are created to show their positioning. There are other stones from the temple in other museums, including the Louvre in France and the Archeological Museum of Boston. 

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The facade of the Temple of Athena.   The purple-y stones are artificial, only the textured, grey stones are from the actual Temple of Athena.

One thing to note in this series of pictures - many of the areas in the museum did not allow flash photography, so almost all of these pictures were taken without a flash. When processed into the computer, digital "lightening" of the pictures brought out the detail in the pictures. In fact, in many cases (such as the sarcophagi), the lightened digital pictures show more detail than actually looking at the real thing in the low lighting of the museum!

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