“The importance of this figure in her context shows us that women had the possibility of having power in ancient Egypt — women were integral to the governmental structure of Egypt.”

The enigmatic ancient Egyptian “female figure,” also known as the “Bird Lady,” appears in jars and painted terracotta figurines dating back to 3500 B.C.E.. Based on her outsize appearance, the Bird Lady gestures towards the goddess-like standing of females in ancient Egyptian society — a hierarchical positioning that distinguishes ancient Egypt from other civilizations of the era.

In this installment of Looking Closer, Edward Bleiberg, Senior Curator of Egyptian Art at the Brooklyn Museum, demystifies the Bird Lady and the significance of her high-status representation. He also provides an inside glimpse into The Brooklyn Museum’s collection of ancient Egyptian art, one of the largest in the United States.

For more behind-the-scenes arts insights, enjoy another episode of Looking Closer. This video series highlights the 10th anniversary of the Elizabeth A. Sackler Center for Feminist Art at the Brooklyn Museum.


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