Saturday, September 26, 2015

Rosicrucian Museum

On our San Francisco trip, we just had to spend a day in San Jose!  First we visited the bizarre Winchester Mystery House, where the heiress to the Winchester Repeating Rifle Co. fortune was commanded by spirits of those killed by "the gun that won the west" to keep the construction going day and night for 38 years, until her death.  It's stuffed with stairs, doors and windows that lead nowhere and strange symbols of the spirit realm.  Jasper loved it.  But...no pictures allowed!  Next we had the most amazing lunch at Chez Sovan Cambodian restaurant, possibly the best meal of the trip at this modest spot in an unremarkable neighborhood.  The afternoon was devoted to exploring the Rosicrucian Museum.  

The Rosicrucians definitely have some bizarre ideas of their own linking occult practices, ancient Egypt, and Christianity.  But whatever the reasons that compelled them, they've assembled what surely must be the finest collection of Egyptian artifacts on the west coast, mixed in with some very impressive replicas and some fanciful recreations.  Everything is clearly labeled in a straightforward and informative manner. The exterior of the building is especially fun, with lots of real papyrus plants, date palms, and Egyptian statuary. Inside they have an impressive recreation of an Egyptian tomb, and give a fantastic flashlight tour.  You can read about ancient history, but seeing it in person is far more memorable.   
 
Core-formed glass vessels from the New Kingdom.  This was the earliest known kind of glasswork, in which opaque glass covered a sand core, and then the sand was removed.  They had not yet learned to blow glass.  How amazing that something so fragile could survive so long?
Mummy mask.
This wooden granary model was placed in a tomb, and was meant to come to life to provide the deceased with grain forever.
Faceplate from a slipper coffin.
The Code of Hammurabi.  Cast from the original at the Louvre. 
The Rosetta Stone.  Cast from the original at the British Museum.
Detail from a cast of the Obelisk of Shalmaneser III, 824 BCE in ancient Babylon.
Mummy, upper-class Egyptian male, probably New Kingdom.
A cuneiform business message from ancient Babylon.
Proclamation by King Nebuchandnezzar of Babylon, 604 BCE.
Found in a temple wall, it proclaims that the king restored the temple.
A barrel cylinder from King Nebuchadnezzar II of Babylon, describing one of his temple
building projects and asking the god it honored to aid him and smite his enemies.
The entrance to their tomb recreation.
Murals inside the tomb.
Murals inside the tomb.  The deceased wanted acrobats to perform for his entertainment in the afterlife.
Statue of Sekhmet.
Replica of the famous artist's model for a bust of Queen Nefertiti.  
Pharaoh Akhenaten, an artist's rendition
from the original in the Luxor Museum.

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