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Small Glass Vessels and Sculpture Collected by Charles Lang Freer

Continues indefinitely
Freer Gallery of Art

During his three trips to Egypt between 1906 and 1909, gallery founder Charles Lang Freer purchased a number of ancient Egyptian sculptures of wood, stone, and bronze, as well as amulets, beads, inlays, vessels, and other objects made of glass and glazed materials. Freer was deeply attracted to the rich blue and green colors of Egyptian glass and glazes and their often luminous appearance.

This exhibition highlights Freer's little-known Egyptian collection and his thoughts on Egyptian art.

In 1909 Freer acquired this wooden face, which originally had been attached by wooden pegs to a mummy-shaped coffin. Inlaid with white, black, and blue glass, the eyes and eyebrows convey a vivid, lifelike impression. A ceremonial beard would have been attached in the square opening under the chin, indicating that the deceased was male.

Mummy-shaped coffins made of wood with attached carved faces were used to bury members of the Egyptian nobility during the New Kingdom (15501070 B.C.E.). Comparison with other sculptures suggests that the Freer face was made during Dynasty 18 or 19 (1550-1196 BC).

The Freer is closed for renovation and reopening in 2017. The Sackler remains open, with a full lineup of exhibitions and events both in the museum and around DC.