Following on by my brief review of the rich and diverse Egyptian mortuary archaeology on display at Leiden’s RMO, I was struck by the detailed attention afforded to Egyptomania as a phenomenon in the collections. In two places, in the permanent Egyptian exhibition, and a fabulous temporary exhibition on Egyptian religion and death, the museums’ collections of 18th-21st-century items inspired by the Western antiquarian and archaeological entanglement with ancient Egypt is explored.

More recently, there are DC cartoons on display, and action figures too.

Moreover, there are a range of products alluding to Egytpian themes in a central display case.


One is left wondering: where aren’t Egyptian themes present and sanctioned in Western popular culture, and which Egyptian themes are most prominent in the context of this bewildering variety? The ancient Egypt we inherit is distorted in multiple fashions, including seemingly by enhancing its mortuary, cultic and supernatural allusions. But how precisely are these selected/

Furthermore, I’m particularly interested in the mortuary reception. So I need to learn more about how does the orientalism exhibited in the reception of ancient Egyptian mortuary remains find manifestations as more tthan ornaments and entertainment, but in our own mortuary cultures? In particular, I’m interested in whether any of the vases and urns inspired by ancient Egypt, and its canopic jars specifically, have been used to contain the ashes of cremated individuals of the 19th, 20th and early 21st centuries.IMG_0659