Daisy Bateman

Blogging the Met: Some Interesting and Uninteresting Things

One of the problems I have with major museums is the inevitable feeling that you missed almost everything. No matter how dedicated you are, even if you wear ugly shoes, you are guaranteed to end the day tired, foot-sore and blurry-brained from information overload, and you still will only have actually looked at about 0.003% of the collection. And that’s just the stuff on display. This has always made me feel like a bit of a failure, and frankly, I get enough of that in my normal life. I don’t think I need to add it to my vacations.*

Which is why I was so weirdly excited to learn that the Metropolitan Museum of Art (henceforth: the Met) had put their entire collection online (395,996 items, so far). I’ve decided to look at all of it, and an important part of that decision has been to not do the math and see if it is even remotely possible. I’ve decided to go chronologically.

The earliest period chronicled by the Met is 8000-2000 B.C., which seems like a lot until you realize it’s mostly jars. I’ll be posting here about my discoveries and questions, and whether I ever figure out the difference between a “shard” and a “sherd.” (They have both.) But first I thought it would be fun to look at some of the most interesting things I’ve seen so far, as well as some of the least interesting, because that’s just the kind of person I am.


Marble Seated Harp Player (Late Early Cycladic I–Early Cycladic II)

I always like seeing my favorite instrument, but I’m not sure about this guy’s technique. You get a better sound if you try playing the strings, dude.**

Figurine (Akkadian)

Is that a chicken-man? I think that’s a chicken-man.

Miniature House (First Intermediate Period-early Middle Kingdom)

This one’s for you Camille.

Not Very Interesting:

Unidentified Object (Early Dynastic II)

Look, if you don’t even know what it is. . .

Bee Amulet (Late Old Kingdom)

In what conceivable way does that look like a bee?

Pit From a Balanites Tree With Hole Caused By a Rodent (Old Kingdom)

They seriously have, like 30 of these. I think the Met might be drunk, you guys.

*I have a longstanding dream to someday move to Paris for a year and test the theory that it would take that long to see everything in the Louvre, and then write a book about it. But that probably won’t happen.

**”Late Early Cycladic?

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