Smithsonian’s NMAA Webinar: Egyptian Antiquities and the Early 20th Century

Lizzie Stein's picture
January 31, 2023
Subject Fields: 
Art, Art History & Visual Studies, Archaeology, African History / Studies, Cultural History / Studies, Asian History / Studies

Join the Smithsonian’s National Museum of Asian Art on Tuesday, January 31, 12-1:15 p.m. EST for A Moment in Time: Egyptian Antiquities and the Early 20th Century with Iman R. Abdulfattah, Kathleen Sheppard, and Toby Wilkinson.

This is a free online event: register here

Between 1906 and 1909, Charles Lang Freer visited Egypt three times. Freer perceived and experienced Egypt differently than other contemporaneous collectors did, as he had decided to collect objects from diverse mediums to study and compare with his East Asian collection. Though Freer’s interest in Egypt was rather brief, it coincided with a period when the field of Egyptology was taking shape and new discoveries were being made. Wealthy foreign tourists and collectors included Egypt in their world tours and assembled antiquities during their travels. Cairo, with its lavish hotels and traveling agencies that facilitated trips along the Nile, became a favorite destination for affluent travelers.   

This webinar brings together experts to contextualize Freer’s time and interest in Egypt by exploring some of the events that shaped the field of Egyptology, the role of dealers and collectors who helped build ancient Egyptian collections, and the establishments in which foreigners sojourned.

Speakers include:

Iman R. Abdulfattah, Universität Bonn and NYU School of Professional Studies

Kathleen Sheppard, Missouri University of Science and Technology

Toby Wilkinson, Clare College, University of Cambridge

Iman R. Abdulfattah is a PhD candidate in Islamic art and archaeology at Universität Bonn, writing her dissertation on the urban complex commissioned by the Mamluk Sultan al-Manṣūr Qalāwūn (r. 678-689/1279–1290) in Cairo. Her primary areas of research are the material culture and built environment of medieval Egypt and the Eastern Mediterranean. She has published and lectured on the art and architecture of the Mamluk and Crusader periods in Egypt and Greater Syria; Norman art and architecture in Sicily; the veneration of relics in Islam; and the network of antiquarians who were active during the first half of the twentieth century, looking at their contributions to building important Islamic art collections in the Middle East, Europe, and the United States.

Dr. Kathleen Sheppard is associate professor in the History and Political Science Department at Missouri University of Science and Technology. She is a historian of science who focuses on women in Egyptology in the United Kingdom and the United States. Her most recent book, Tea on the Terrace: Hotels and Egyptologists' Social Networks, 1885–1925, was published in late 2022 by Manchester University Press. In it, she discusses the Egyptian hotels that Egyptologists stayed in before going out to excavate and that later became major sites of discipline-building activities.

Toby Wilkinson is the New York Times best-selling author of The Rise and Fall of Ancient EgyptA World Beneath the Sands, and Tutankhamun’s Trumpet. He is a fellow of Clare College, University of Cambridge, and lives in England.

Find more information here

Contact Info: 

Lizzie Stein, Scholarly Programs and Publications Specialist

National Museum of Asian Art