Five of the most unusual objects from the National Museum of Scotland's new galleries
- Arabella Bradley
- 6 March 2019
Highlights from the Ancient Egypt, East Asia and Ceramics galleries
Three new galleries have recently opened at the National Museum of Scotland, which aim to provide new and engaging displays of internationally significant material. These galleries, dedicated to Ancient Egypt, East Asia and the Art of Ceramics, include treasures which tell unique stories from cultures around the world. Here, we pick out five highlights from the galleries, revealing more about these untold stories.
Coptic sock from Akhmim, Egypt (4th–5th century)
Who knew the Ancient Egyptians wore socks in the desert, and thick, woollen ones at that? This sock (pictured above) was designed to be worn with sandals, and is made of different coloured wool to create a striped effect (now we know where Paul Smith got his inspiration from). The shape of the toe is really unusual, presumably so the sock would fit either side the toe post of the sandal. Very innovative and aesthetically pleasing too.
On display: World Cultures, Ancient Egypt Rediscovered
Puzzle jug by Newbigging Pottery, Musselburgh, Scotland (c.1820–30)
This jug suggests that drinking games – like socks – are much older than you'd think. The puzzle jug has hidden holes designed to drink from, which explain how you'd win the game: by avoiding any spillages from these holes. This one is decorated in a hand-painted blue and white design, like those made by Spode in England, and is inscribed with a rhyme which tells you how to play the game.
On display: Art of Ceramics
Korean hats (19th–20th century)
The display of 19th and 20th century Korean hats proves that one hat will not do for every occasion, and that hats are not a case of 'one size fits all'. Amongst the collection is a sacrificial hat worn by the emperor's representative at the tombs of ancestors, hats for the everyday gentleman, and a bride's hat. The materials range from paper, to horse hair, to dyed bamboo and silk; an eclectic mixture both in terms of style and function.
On display: World Cultures, Exploring East Asia