13 Reasons to Visit London’s British Museum

May 28, 2011 by    Posted under: Travel

The British Museum is filled with room after room of ancient treasures and I could very easily have spent a few days wandering around it. The highlight of the museum is the famed Rosetta Stone. In addition to this world treasure, there are statues, mummies and artifacts from around the ancient world. The British Museum, like many of London’s national museums, offers free admission and suggests a donation.

Buddha Statue, Korea

This iron Buddha is from the Goryo Dynasty and dates back to AD 900 – 1100. I love the placement of this statue in front of the light. The Korean Room was very dark and peaceful compared to the rest of the museum and it feels like that peacefulness is reflected in this statue
(Fun Fact: Korea’s name comes from the Goryo Dynasty)

The Rosetta Stone, Egypt

What can I say about the Rosetta Stone? I know it’s only a rock, but it’s hefty role in deciphering a great mystery left me feeling in awe of it. The (shortened) history of it goes like this: Inscribed around 196 BC in three languages (Ancient Egyptian hieroglyphs, demotic and Ancient Greek), discovered in 1799 by some of Napoleon’s soldiers in Rashid (Rosetta) Egypt, and handed over to the British in 1801 when they defeated the French. The discovery of the Rosetta Stone and its three languages provided the key to deciphering Ancient Egyptian hieroglyphics.

Ramses II Statue, Egypt

This statue of Ramses II is imposing and big and if there were statues of him this size everywhere, I might start to believe he was a God too. It’s just a bust but he feels big. Like he would have a James Earl Jones voice if he could talk.

Aphrodite Statue, Greece

When the Romans conquered Greece in the first century BC, their art began reflecting and incorporating the Greek styles. This evidently included a lot of straight copying of statues. This statue of Aphrodite (AD 20 – 40) is possibly a Roman copy of a Greek bronze. She is quite beautiful and feels alive and engaging from any angle.

Mummified Cats, Egypt

Those of you who know me, know I have a big heart for cats. These little guys were mummified sometime after 30 BC. I love that the Egyptians loved cats too. Only, they believed that cat’s were intermediaries for Gods (it wasn’t the cats themselves they loved so much) where as I believe cats believe they are Gods and find them to be quite convincing in their belief.

Veracruz Pottery, Mexico

I don’t know why I love this little guy, but I do. He looks rowdy and mischievous and is seriously cute. The only information about him was that he’s from around 300-1200 AD and he’s Classic Veracruz.

Glazed Pottery, China

The British Museum has several exhibits of beautiful Ancient Chinese pottery. This is from the Tang Dynasty and was made sometime in the late 6th to 8th century AD.

The Nereid Monument, Xanthos (Turkey)

This monument was amazing. It’s a Lykian temple tomb reassembled in the museum. It was built around 390-380 BC. The ancient civilization of Lykia was in what is now Southwest Turkey. To get a better feeling for its size, visit Where in the World is Basha’s Facebook Page to see a photo of me standing next to it.

Ancient Egyptian Shopping List, Egypt

Forget the Rosetta Stone, THIS is impressive. It’s an ancient Egyptian shopping list done up in hieratic, a flowing from of hieroglyphics. The description said that “Flakes of limestone were often used for notes and sketches…” This ‘flake of limestone’ was almost the size of a dinner plate and about an inch thick.
Zeus Bust, Greece

So it turns out Zeus was pretty hunky. Here he is from the 2nd century AD with a head full of curls and a (literally) chiseled chest.

Mummy, Egypt

If you like Ancient Egyptian mummies, there are rooms of them to gawk at in The British Museum. This guy’s name was Djedhor and he lived around  250 BC. His outer wrappings were coated with asphalt from the Dead Sea and he has a beautiful gilded mask and plaques adorning his body.

Venus Statue, Rome

This is just one of many Roman statues at The British Museum. Here Venus is shown as a young woman and scantily draped.

Wooden Buddha Statue, Burma

The most amazing thing about this statue is that it is made of wood and has survived for about 700 years. It is of a crowned Buddha and the colors are still quite vibrant. The British Museum has a large collection of Ancient Southeast Asian artifacts and statues including many figurines of Bodhisattvas and The Buddha.

To see more photos from The British Museum in London, visit Where in the World is Basha’s Facebook Page.

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