Classical and Egyptian Antiquities in the North Carolina Museum of Art

In 1947 the North Carolina General Assembly authorized the sum of one million dollars to acquire works of art for a new State Museum, marking the first time a state had used public funds to buy art. Since then, the North Carolina Museum of Art (NCMA) has greatly expanded both its collections, which include European and American painting, antiquities, tribal arts, modern art and sculpture and much more, and its facilities. NCMA is now housed in two large buildings (one housing the permanent collections, cafe and gift shop and one housing temporary exhibits, workshops and meeting spaces) on a 164 acre Museum Park adorned with monumental works of art.

NCMA’s antiquities collections include Egyptian art in all materials and in all sizes from the Predynastic to Ptolemaic periods, Greek, Villanovan and Etruscan ceramics, Cypriot pottery and sculpture, Roman sculpture in marble and bronze and a good selection of Roman glass. These are arranged in two large galleries and a portion of the central space of the building housing the permanent collections.

Presented here are twenty-four images representing nineteen objects, in roughly chronological order, selected for their special beauty, rarity or remarkable craftsmanship. I hope you will enjoy these. All images should be credited to Clio Ancient Art and Antiquities. Here is a link to NCMA’s “Plan Your Visit” page (opens in a new window or tab):

egyptian antiquities, egyptian pottery, egyptian art
Egyptian Predynastic decorated jar, Naqada II Period, 3,500-3150 BC, marl clay with red paint.
cypriot antiquities, cypriot plank idol
Cypriot plank idol, 2000 BC, burnished pottery
Shabti box, Egyptian antiquities, ancient Egyptian art
Shabti Box, Thebes, New Kingdom, Dynasty 19-20, 1295-1069 BC, wood with gesso and paint.
Egyptian antiquities, Egyptian art, ancient egypt
Egyptian False door from the tomb of Ni-Ankh-Snefru, detail, possibly from Saqqara, Old Kingdom, Dynasty 6, 2321-2278 BC, limestone with traces of paint.
Egyptian false door, Egyptian antiquities, ancient Egyptian art
Egyptian False door from the tomb of Ni-Ankh-Snefru, possibly from Saqqara, Old Kingdom, Dynasty 6, 2321-2278 BC, limestone with traces of paint.
Egyptian antiquities, ancient egyptian art, egyptian mummies
Face mask from an Egyptian wood coffin lid, Third Intermediate Period, Dynasty 22, 945-715 BC, wood with gesso and paint.
egyptian mummies, ancient egyptian art, egyptian antiquities
Detail from the coffin of Amunred, Egyptian, Third Intermediate to Late Period, 715-525 BC, wood with gesso and paint. Note the Falcon of Horus on the shoulder.
egyptian mummies, ancient egyptian art, Egyptian Antiquities
Detail from the lower part of the coffin of Amunred. Facing representation of the Jackal of Anubis guard the feet, below processions of female and male deities.
Maat, hieroglyphics, egyptian mummies, ancient egypt
The coffin of Amunred, showing the central panel of inscriptions and the figure of Maat, goddess of truth and justice, on the chest.
Egyptian bull, Ptolemaic art, egyptian antiquities
Egyptian reclining bull. Wood with gesso and paint. Said to be from North Saqqara. Ptolemaic Period, 305-30 BC.
Cypriot antiquities, ancient cyprus
Head of a god or priest, Cyprus, 450-425 BC, limestone with traces of pigment. Note the mix of archaic Greek and more naturalistic style in this object, which may represent a temple priest or a temple donor who commissioned the statue.
Aphrodite, Greek sculpture, Parian marble
Torso of Aphrodite, Hellenistic Greek, about 60 BC, white Parian marble.
Canosan pottery, South Italian pottery, Greek antiquities
Double jar with a central handle, Late Daunian Period, 4th-3rd Century BC, from a Canosan workshop, South Italy. Pottery with added pigment.
Centuripe, Greek pottery, Greek antiquities
Detail from a large “Lebes Gamikos” or funerary vase from Centuripe, a Greek colony in Sicily, 250-225 BC, ceramic with paint and gilding. The central panel depicts a bride flanked by attendants with small applied Erotes flying above.
Ptolemaic pottery, Ptolemaic art, Greek antiquities, Egyptian antiquities
A “Hydria” or vessel for pouring water, 3rd Century BC, Egypt, pottery with buff slip and added paint. This vase shows something of the unique fusion of Egyptian and Greek art during the Ptolemaic period.
Lucius Caesar, Roman sculpture, Augustan art
Lucius Caesar, nephew of the first Roman Emperor, Augustus, late 1st Century BC, marble
Roman relief sculpture, Roman antiquities, Roman art
Roman decorative relief, late 1st Century BC or early 1st Century AD, marble.
Livia, Roman bronze sculpture, Augustan art, Roman antiquities
Roman head of a woman in the guise of a goddess, possibly Livia, wife of the Emperor Augustus, cast bronze with silver inlays, 1st Century AD
Roman sculpture, Roman marble, Roman antiquities
A Roman bone box for holding the cremated remains of the deceased, represented by one or both of the standing couple on the main panel, flanked by seated women. Marble, 2nd Century AD. The deceased couple have chosen to have themselves depicted as a philosopher and a muse.
ancient roman art, ancient roman sculpture
Detail from the Roman bone box, showing the male half of the couple.
Roman antiquities, Roman artifacts, Roman sculpture
Detail from the Roman bone box, showing the female half of the central couple.
Roman mosaic, mosaic floor, Roman art
Roman mosaic floor panel of the 2nd Century AD, composed of various types of marble and glass. The design includes geometric and floral motives and an endless knot design, all enclosed in a braided border.
Roman sculpture, Roman Herakles, Roman art, Roman antiquities
Roman marble statue of Herakles (Hercules) with his club. 2nd Century AD.
Marcus Aurelius, Roman Emperors, Roman Sculpture
Portrait bust of the Roman Emperor Marcus Aurelius, marble, late 2nd Century AD. Marcus Aurelius is best known as the philosopher Emperor, a champion of Stoic philosophy and author of the “Meditations.”

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