“The ancient Egyptians believed that to make rebirth possible for a deceased woman, she briefly had to turn into a man. In A Woman’s Afterlife: Gender Transformation in Ancient Egypt, the Brooklyn Museum presents new research—inspired in part by feminist scholarship—to tell this remarkable story of gender transformation in the ancient world. The exhibition showcases 25 works from the Museum’s celebrated Egyptian collection to explore the differences between male and female access to the afterlife. The exhibition is part of A Year of Yes: Reimagining Feminism at the Brooklyn Museum, a yearlong project celebrating a decade of feminist thinking at the Brooklyn Museum.” — Brooklyn Museum
This exhibition was sparked by fresh research, published by scholars Professor Kathlyn M. Cooney (University of California Los Angeles), Dr. Heather McCarthy (New York University), Professor Gay Robins (Emory University), and Professor Ann Macy Roth (New York University). “This research has led to a better understanding of the logic behind this unexpected gender transformation by discovering that women were intentionally represented with red skin and with masculine pronouns. Previously, these representations were regarded as mere mistakes,” said Edward Bleiberg, Curator of Egyptian Art. “Feminism has changed the questions we ask of ancient history as well as the answers we offer. This is a striking example of how feminism has provided a basis for new scholarship that reinterprets an ancient puzzle.”
A Woman’s Afterlife: Gender Transformation in Ancient Egypt is organized by Edward Bleiberg, Curator of Egyptian Art, Brooklyn Museum.
Images courtesy Brooklyn Museum.