Char­ac­ter

Weekend Argus (Saturday Edition) - - FRONT PAGE -

the key launch-pad re­gions of mod­ern south­ern Africa. Food, wag­ons, sup­plies, tech­nol­ogy, skills and ideas en­abled and ac­com­pa­nied the treks, cam­paigns and trad­ing that sealed Cape Town’s con­nec­tion with the wider re­gion, and the re­gion’s con­nec­tions with the world.

Insep­a­ra­ble from this process was the elab­o­ra­tion of so­cial and po­lit­i­cal ar­range­ments, from slav­ery to apartheid, and these emerge in the mu­seum col­lec­tions too. One of the more un­likely con­se­quences of the con­ver­gence of cul­tural and po­lit­i­cal forces is a unique col­lec­tion of Egyp­tian an­tiq­ui­ties at the Wellington Mu­seum. It came into pos­ses­sion of the erst­while Huguenot Uni­ver­sity Col­lege at Wellington in 1948 through the be­quest of Miss E Arm­stead of Eng­land to her friend Miss S Stafford, who was prin­ci­pal of the col­lege in the 1930s.

Arm­stead was an author­ity on an­cient Egyp­tian and Me­sopotamian his­tory, and had par­tic­i­pated in var­i­ous ex­pe­di­tions and dig­gings in these re­gions.

A re­sult of a trans-At­lantic friend­ship with Wellington’s Stafford is the mu­seum’s col­lec­tion, which in­cludes a clay pot from the time of Abra­ham (2000-1900BC) and a small re­cep­ta­cle from which wa­ter was drunk, dat­ing to about 5500BC. Most of the pieces date from the reign of King Akhen­aten, about 1375BC. The col­lec­tion in­cludes bronzes of Osiris, the god of res­ur­rec­tion, and sa­cred Ushabi fig­ures.

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