From The Weekly: Nubia Gets a Second-Look at the Museum of Fine Arts

(Note: This post first appeared in our e-newsletter, The RHT Weekly, on January 13, 2020. To receive The RHT Weekly in your inbox, well, weekly, sign up here!)

Boston’s Museum of Fine Arts is wrapping up its Ancient Nubia Now exhibit next Sunday, January 20. If you’re in the Northeast this week, do yourself a favor and check it out! (Here's what you need to know to get there.)

The MFA’s exhibit showcases a wealth of cultural and artistic objects from almost three millennia of Nubian civilization.

Winged Isis Pectoral, Nubian, 538-519 BC. (Photo: Museum of Fine Arts, Boston)(Photo: Museum of Fine Arts, Boston)

For most viewers, the exhibit will serve as an introduction to Nubia, which flourished in ancient times alongside the Nile in what is now northern Sudan. Both geographically and historically speaking, this is an area dominated by the achievements of Egypt. What emerges through the beauty and craftsmanship on display, however, is a multifaceted image of a sophisticated culture, building for thousands of years both in rivalry and exchange with the pharaonic dynasties.

Bracelet with image of Hathor, Nubian, Meroitic Period, 250 - 100 BC. (Photo: Museum of Fine Arts, Boston)(Photo: Museum of Fine Arts, Boston)

The MFA’s show is an ambitious undertaking, mixing artistic brilliance with a forceful argument for historical reevaluation. Go for the surprise that comes along with finding out that the stunning ivory inlay in front of you, which you’d happily wear any day of the week, was crafted almost 4,000 years ago. But be prepared to leave with a heightened appreciation for Sub-Saharan African history, as Nubia gains deserved recognition alongside their more celebrated northern neighbors.

Ancient Nubia Now only runs for another week at the MFA, but if you miss it, check out a few great write-ups here and here. We’ll also be putting up more resources on the blog at