Archaeology: Glories Of Egypt

A new exhibition showcases superb art from the age of the pyramids

Blame it on the pyramids. Those astonishing works of architecture--and vanity--are so overwhelming that scholars have taken a while to turn to the lesser aesthetic achievements of the Old Kingdom, the 500 glorious years between about 2650 and 2150 B.C. when many of the iconic structures were erected. Until recently, in fact, archaeologists knew little more about this period than Herodotus did.

All that has changed, though, as a spectacular exhibition opening at the Metropolitan Museum of Art in New York City this week makes clear. "Egyptian Art in the Age of the Pyramids" is the first major show devoted to...

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