Friday, August 10, 2018

ANCIENT EGYPTIAN TEMPLE OF DENDUR IN METOPOLITAN MUSEUM OF ART NEW YORK


                        
                                                                                
















ANCIENT EGYPTIAN TEMPLE OF DENDUR IN METROPOLITAN MUSEUM OF ART NEW YORK
( Mobile Photographs .. Autar Mota )


When president Gamal Abdel Nasser of Egypt decided to build Aswan High Dam on river Nile, he was confronted with a toughest task as to how remains of Ancient Egyptian Civilization spread along the Banks of river Nile could be saved from getting submerged and lost . He approached UNESCO and a campaign to save this colossal World Heritage ( That included Dendur and other Temples in Nubia region of Egypt) was started in late 50s of the last century. With the Egyptian government lacking resources and means to pay for the relocation of these massive and so many ancient structures, UNESCO launched a fund raising campaign seeking help primarily from USA . According to some sources, it was Jacqueline Kennedy who urged her husband John F Kennedy (The then president of USA) to convince Congress for approving the $10 million contribution to the cause. In return, Egypt offered the U.S. the ancient Temple of Dendur.

Later president Johnson’s administration inherited this task and decided to reconstruct this massive stone Temple inside Metropolitan Museum Of Art New York. When the decision to lift the heavy Temple stones and ship them across Atlantic was taken , the temple had already submerged in water. 

Given to the United States by Egypt in 1965 , This Temple was awarded to The Metropolitan Museum of Art in 1967, and installed in The Sackler Wing . And in 1978, the New reconstructed Temple Inside Metropolitan Museum Of Art was completed utilizing skill and expertise of so many American experts .

The reconstructed Dendur Temple forms a prime attraction In Metropolitan Museum Of Art New York and lies in close vicinity of Ancient Egyptian section of MET. As you Conclude your visit to Ancient Egyptian section in MET that has so many Ancient Treasures ( Stone Sculptures, Pottery, Reliefs, Ancient Wall Paintings, Stone and wooden Caskets for keeping dead bodies, Jewelry etc), you are confronted with a huge open space with a water pond and a raised upon which Ancient Dendur Temple has been rebuilt with all original stones brought from original site in Nubia. The Terrace of the New Temple overlooks the pond that represents river Nile . Old photographs of this Heritage site are also on display . 

The entrance , walls, sanctum Sanctorum and a massive Sphinx has been reinstalled . Some Temple stones bear Graffiti and names written by Tourists who might have visited the original Temple in Nubia. I saw" P S G GORDE" and " LEONARDO 1820 "written boldly on a stone at the base of the entrance. .Half broken white Marble Image of Goddess retrieved from the site has also been placed in a glass case in the sanctum sanctorum of the newly created Temple..


                                                                                 


The lifting of stones of Temple of Dendur from River Nile and then rebuilding it inside Metropolitan Museum of Art is a wonder. American engineers have used technology to lift stones from submerged Temple and then reassemble these in MET New York .I was told that Architects E K Roche and John Dinkeloo put their time and energy in recreation of Dendur . Both the Architects had already designed many important Buildings in America .

Ancient Egyptian temples were not houses of worship alone but these represented so many religious and mythological concepts. Carved on temple wall stones, You can see images of sun disk, sky god (Horus) , kings or Pharaohs making offerings to the deity inside apart from images of ancient Egyptian gods .Temple of Dendur had image of Goddess Isis and Osiris though it is primarily dedicated to Goddess Isis .The temple was completed sometime around 10 BC in Nubia using huge Sand stones. This temple and so many Temples were built by Emperor Augustus of Rome when Romans ruled Egypt. 


So enchanting are the Egyptian sculptures, Artifacts and other items used by ancient Egyptians that I visited this segment for two successive days on a paid entrance Ticket.


( Avtar Mota )


PS

 (1)

Mortimer David Sackler was a Physician and Industrialist( Pharmaceutical ) . Along with his brother , He used their family’s Wealth for so many Philanthropic causes one being Donations to Metropolitan Museum of Art for Procurement ,Protection and Maintenance of world Heritage Items .


(2)
Egypt had old Aswan dam as well. That was known
as Aswan Low Dam built in 1902 by the British . The New High dam ( Started in 1960 and Completed in 1970 ) was needed to meet enhanced electricity and irrigation requirement of Egypt . This New High Dam created a Huge and deep lake Known as Lake Nasser .This lake submerged many villages along the banks of Nile in Nubia region. Unable to protect all old Heritage sites ,President Nasser Granted Temple of Debod to Spain saving it from getting submerged and lost. Many more smaller Temples and Paintings were granted to Museums in Europe .

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