A Woman’s Afterlife: Gender Transformation in Ancient Egypt

  • Brooklyn Museum of Art
The ancient Egyptians believed that to make rebirth possible for a deceased woman, she briefly had to turn into a man. Guided by new research inspired in part by feminist scholarship, the exhibition tells this remarkable story of gender transformation in the ancient world through 27 objects from the museum's Egyptian collection that explore the differences between male and female access to the afterlife. It is part of a year-long series of 10 exhibitions celebrating the 10th anniversary of the Elizabeth A. Sackler Center for Feminist Art. (On display indefinitely.)
Sarah DeSantis / Brooklyn Museum
Mummy mask of Bensuipet from Deir el-Medina, Egypt, c. 1292-1190 BCE. This yellow mask made of cartonnage, in direct contact with the mummy, altered her gender role once again. Yellow skin represented the skin of a goddess made from gold. Now, returned to her original female state, she incubated the male-created fetus, gave birth in the tomb, and lived forever in the next world as a woman.

Stay up to date

Subscribe to our newsletter to receive the latest features, events, reviews, teaching aids and digital-only content. 

To take advantage of all features on this website, it is recommended that you allow all cookies.
Read more