Ancient Nubia at the Museum of Fine Arts

Nubia is the name scholars have given to the dynasties that flourished in the Sudanese Nile Valley from 2400 BCE to 364 BCE.

The exhibition at the MFA was dramatic. The story unveiled a culture hidden under ancient and modern bias that placed civilizations of Egypt over the culture of neighboring Nubia. Early 20th century European and American archaeologists, uncovering biblical history, and narrating what they found through scriptural lenses, overlaid Egypt on the whole region, and underplayed Nubia.

As I stepped around the wall, into the first exhibition room, a blue ceramic lion, that in 1600 BCE adorned a temple entrance, took my breath away.

One room displays dozens of shawabties that surrounded the bodies of Nubian royalty, and guarded their sleep.


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