Tarascan, Tzintzuntzan, Michoacán, West Mexico<br/>
<em>Chacmool</em> (1200-1400) <!-- (view 1) --><br />

serpentine<br />
78.7 x 119.6 x 45.0 cm<br />
National Gallery of Victoria, Melbourne<br />
Presented anonymously, 1980<br />
PC181-1980<br />

back to Media Releases
Tarascan, Tzintzuntzan, Michoacán, West Mexico
Chacmool (1200-1400)
Media Release • 4 Oct 13

The Ancient World – antiquities return to the NGV

Following a three year hiatus, antiquities will return to the National Gallery of Victoria with the refurbished permanent gallery space The Ancient World. Showcasing works from ancient Egypt, the Near East, Greece, Italy and Mesoamerica, The Ancient World will highlight the NGV’s significant antiquities collection and feature seldom seen items including an exceptionally rare Coptic tunic from the Byzantine Period.

Tony Ellwood, Director, NGV, said: “As part of wider NGV gallery refurbishments, The Ancient World will see our antiquities collection return to permanent display at NGV International.

“With more than 2000 objects from the fourth millennium BC to the sixteenth century AD, the NGV’s antiquities collection is of remarkable depth and quality and is particularly renowned for its Greek and South Italian vase collection, regarded as the finest in the country,” said Mr Ellwood.

The Ancient World will comprise over 300 objects including tombwares, sculptures, ceramics, cuneiform tablets, jewellery and objects relating to personal adornment across three display areas representing Mesoamerica, The Classical World and Egypt and the Near East.

Ancient Egyptian objects are some of the earliest works to have entered the NGV Collection. The Ancient World will feature many of these objects, including a gilded Ptah-Sokar-Osiris figure of Hor, son of Djedhor on a painted and silvered base, a painted wooden canopic chest of the Late Period and a rare life-size limestone head of Nefertiti, one of only a handful of sculptures of Nefertiti that survive.

The pre-hispanic civilisation of Mesoamerica stands with Egypt and Mesopotamia as one of the world’s great early civilisations. Most of the stunning Mesoamerican ceramic, shell and stone objects that will be on display were created to accompany the honoured dead to the afterlife. The Ancient World will also feature Chacmool, 1200–1400, a monumental stone reclining figure from Tzintzuntzan, Michoacán, in West Mexico, and stone representations of hachas, palmas and yokes made for use in the Mesoamerican ball game.

A selection of works from the Gallery’s Near East collection will also be featured, including bronzes and ceramics from the ancient Persia and Mesopotamian cuneiform tablets, cylinder seals and a black diorite head of the ruler Gudea, c. 2100 BC.

On 9 November, the NGV will present a free forum titled ‘How to look good naked – from Antiquity to the Renaissance’, where special guest speakers will explore the historical context of nudity in Ancient Greece and early Modern Italian art.

The Ancient World opens on 5 October 2013 at NGV International, 180 St Kilda Rd. Open 10am–5pm, closed Tuesday.