Pharaoh in Canaan: The Untold Story

March 4, 2016-December 31, 2016

Location: Bella and Harry Wexner Gallery

Curator: Dr. Daphna Ben-Tor,Curator of Egyptian Archaeology Dr. Eran Arie,Curator of Iron Age and Persian Periods

Pharaoh in Canaan tells the highly revelatory and previously untold story of the rich cross-cultural ties between Egypt and Canaan during the second millennium BCE. Most commonly known from the biblical narratives of Joseph and Moses in Egypt, this historical chapter took place during a time of great political flux in both regions, due to two central developments: settlement of the Canaanites in the eastern part of the Egyptian Delta during the Middle Bronze Age (circa 1800–1550 BCE); and the consequent period of Egyptian rule over Canaan that saw the establishment of an Egyptian military and administrative presence in Canaan during the Late Bronze Age (circa 1500–1150 BCE).

The exhibition presents more than 680 objects demonstrating the cross-fertilization of ritual practices and aesthetic vocabularies between these two distinct ancient cultures.

From large-scale royal victory steles and anthropoid coffins to scarabs and amulets, the exhibition draws from the Israel Museum’s own extensive holdings and from archaeological finds excavated in Israel by the Israel Antiquities Authority, together with seminal loans from The Metropolitan Museum, NY; the Louvre Museum, Paris; the Egyptian Museum, Turin, the Kunsthistorisches Museum, Vienna, and other important collections worldwide.

Canaanite amulet of a schematic nude goddess in Egyptian style
Tell el-Ajjul, 15th century BCE, gold
Collection of Israel Antiquities Authority
Photo © The Israel Museum, Jerusalem, by Elie Posner

Lid of anthropoid sarcophagus
Tel Shadud, 13th century BCE, pottery
Collection of Israel Antiquities Authority
Photo © The Israel Museum, Jerusalem, by Elie Posner

Victory stela of Seti I erected at Beth Shean
13th century BCE, Basalt
Collection of Israel Antiquities Authority
Photo © The Israel Museum, Jerusalem, by Elie Posner