Birch, Samuel   [Hrsg.]
Catalogue of the collection of Egyptian antiquities at Alnwick Castle — London, 1880

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added to literary descriptions in papyri afford a contemporary
illustration, not to be found elsewhere, of the numerous objects
which form a collection of Egyptian antiquities; while inscriptions
on the objects themselves afford a more complete knowledge of their
purport than is obtainable from the usual sources of information
when literature and sculpture are dissevered from one another.

It has also to be borne in mind that, after all, a very small
proportion of the antiquities of any race, however civilized it may
have been, remains, and that the objects at one time in daily
use were of the most ephemeral description, others again easily
destroyed or changed totally or partially in the course of time,
so that any collection of antiquities, however extensive and im-
portant, consists of mere scraps of a vast and changing civiliza-
tion, rescued from oblivion. The idea of the pristine condition
of the race has to be restored from the remains, and when with-
out these material aids presents itself to the mind only as an
intellectual conception of the most uncertain character.

The classification of relics reduces their miscellaneous nature
to a certain order which is necessary to form a definite concep-
tion of the Egyptian mind. This arrangement comprises the
mythology or religion of the Egyptians, the objects of civil life,
and those which illustrate funeral rites. It is to these last that
the preservation of so many objects is due; the sepulchres con-
tain by far the largest proportion of the smaller objects usually
comprised in collections. Of the mythology of Egypt the illustra-
tions are numerous, and of votive objects chiefly of bronze, and
figures of stone or porcelain deposited with the dead, and all the
principal types are well represented. Lately Egyptian mythology
has been considered to be a kind of monotheism, the One God
being latent in the various types of the Pantheon, the outward
or visible form of which was Ra or the Sun, while the other
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