Arts in New York City: Baruch College, Fall 2008, Professor Roslyn Bernstein
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Beyond Babylon: Art, Trade, and Diplomacy in the Second Millennium B.C.

Glass Ingots from Uluburun Shipwreck

Falcon Pendant

Standing outside of the Met for the first time, I wondered what lay ahead.  Despite the construction near the steps, the museum still appeared majestic.  The large scale of the pale sandy colored building reminded me of many of the museums I have been to in Washington, D.C., of which if I had never visited before, the Met may have appeared like a castle to me.  Of course, the inside of the museum was even more beautiful.  The high ceilings and the Greek columns gave the museum an open and airy feeling, and the lighting, which overall was bright but not harsh imbued the impression of a place not to be missed.  My friends and I even noted the elegance of the staircases, which were simple and sleek, and I haven’t even gotten started on the Met’s art.

I thought that the Babylon exhibition seemed interesting because I have always been intrigued by cultures of the ancient Egyptians and the other lands nearby.  I for one am thankful that the Babylonians, well known for their rich history, beautiful art, and intricate artifacts, left behind plenty of treasures for us to cherish.  My favorite part of the exhibit was of the Uluburun Shipwreck and the items salvaged.  There were samples of Glass ingots, which are truncated cones of stone that are fired up to become glass. There was 770 pounds of ingots on the ship.  I found the colors of the glass they used in Babylon quite attractive: deep cobalt, rich turquoise, vibrant purple, and stunning ambers.  I learned from the exhibition that blue glass is actually a substitute for precious stone.

I also viewed another artifact that had to do with glass only it was less colorful.  It was a large Canaanite jar that held glass beads.  The jar was made of ceramic, but the glass beads blended right in color wise, as if they were an attached mass of various sized blobs all in the same shade of off-white.  There were both plain globular beads and decorated beads.  The beads were wire wound, which means they were not on a necklace, but instead strung onto wire, most likely on the ship as merchandise.  I found all of the glass and supplies to make jewelry on the ship to emphasize the Babylonian’s culture as one infused with adornment, and I enjoyed exploring the art, culture, and history that the Met had to offer.