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The exhibit “Egyptomania,” currently at the Museum of Fine Arts, Houston, focuses not on the ancient Egyptian artifacts that have long fascinated us, but instead on the way those artifacts influenced Western culture, especially design, architecture and literature. The perfect companion to “Tutankhamun: The Golden King and the Great Pharaohs,” an exhibit of treasures from the king’s tomb, also on display at the MFAH, “Egyptomania” includes art-deco perfume bottles with pharaoh-head stoppers and Georgian lawn ornaments in the shape of sphinxes.

There are also well-known photographs from the late 19th century that helped to further fuel Western fascination. Among them is the iconic 1870 image The Sphinx and the Pyramids by Adolphe Braun, which shows a lonely sphinx flanked by two pyramids. Also high on the list of must-see items is the collection of scarab-themed jewelry (including some made from actual dung beetles) and a 1912 iridescent gold vase by Tiffany Studios, which was clearly inspired by Egyptian artifacts discovered at the end of the 19th century. There’s also the 1875 case clock by Pottier and Stymus. An example of the Egyptian Revival style, the cherrywood clock stands eight feet tall and is decorated with sun gods, sarcophagi and other nods to the land of the pharaohs.

There are some 40 objects in the exhibit, all drawn from the MFAH’s various collections. 10 a.m. to 5 p.m. Tuesdays and Wednesdays, 10 a.m. to 9 p.m. Thursdays to Saturdays, 12:15 to 7 p.m. Sundays. Through July 29. 1001 Bissonnet. For information, call 713-639-7300 or visit Free to $10.
Sundays, 12:15-7 p.m.; Tuesdays, Wednesdays, 10 a.m.-5 p.m.; Thursdays-Saturdays, 10 a.m.-9 p.m. Starts: March 18. Continues through July 28, 2012


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