Dear Shaded Viewers,
I was reading a piece in Artsy by Abigail Cain this morning and wanted to share it with you. https://www.artsy.net/article/artsy-editorial-7-mets-tiniest-masterpieces?
Click the above link as I only posted 3 of the 7 tiniest masterpieces at the Met.
Skeleton Astride a Skull (late 18th – early 19th century) 1.5 x 1.1 x 1.4 in.
This macabre miniature is part of a Japanese tradition that has its beginnings in 17th-century fashion. As men’s kimonos evolved, they no longer featured pockets in their sleeves. Instead, men began to carry their things in pouches hung from strings around their necks; they used small, carved objects to counterbalance the weight of their bags. These objects eventually became known as netsuke, and as time went on, they developed an elaborate vocabulary of religious subjects, literary characters, and mythological elements. Netsuke could even be funny—this particular example from the Met’s collection was intended to make light of human mortality.
Between 1926 and 1927, the Met sent a team to excavate an ancient funerary temple in Egypt’s Western Thebes. In the end, they unearthed a cache of almost 300 scarabs and stamp-seals, the majority of which ended up in the collection of the New York museum. Carved to resemble a beetle on top, these miniscule artifacts can be flipped to reveal inscriptions underneath, which would have been pressed into clay to leave a lasting image. Many of these particular scarabs honor Hatshepsut, one of Egypt’s few female pharaohs, and list the many titles she held throughout her life.