On Monday 16th August Jackie and I went to London, and decided to spend some time in the British Museum. Almost abandoned the plan when we saw the huge crowds of tourists and families. But we went on, and these are my personal highlights:
The Romans left fired clay versions of the bits of themselves that needed divine intervention at shrines. Wombs, breasts and intestines figured in the display case, but my favourite was the leg (1st century AD), with an inscription apparently urging help from the gods Hygieia (Health) and Asclepius (Healing, once a real doctor but upgraded to a god after his death). Perhaps its the word ‘leg’ that makes it for me, like ‘music for the leg’ (Bonzo Dog Band) and the leg in Python cartoons.
Once we decided the whole place was too crowded we descended the west stairs and found a pair of lioness-headed goddess statues. A delightful dark igneous grano-diorite rock with fine features chiselled into it. Originally from a temple on the west bank of the Nile in Thebes, where the Mortuary Temple of Amenhotep 3rd had 730 versions of this lioness-headed goddess Sekhmet. The date is 1350BC.
And finally an earlier version of ‘The Scream’, this one being the centrepiece of a 4th century AD Roman mosaic.