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British Museum  A museum of the world, for the world. Discover over two million years of human history and culture.

This intimidating male headgear was found in the tomb of a Scythian chieftain in the Altai mountains in Siberia. Around 2,300 years old, it’s thought this headgear may have been worn by the chieftain in his final battle, as the damage to it corresponds with the fatal wounds on the man’s head.

The carving depicts the head of a fantastic eagle, holding a deer head in its beak, with figures carrying geese on either side. These elements were part of a complex headpiece which consisted of a decorated felt cap topped with an elaborate wooden crest. Swipe to see how this headgear would have been worn.

Our major autumn exhibition explores the story of the #Scythians – nomadic tribes and masters of mounted warfare. Find out more about this exciting show by following the link in our bio.

Man’s headgear and illustration showing how it may have been worn. Burial mound 2, Pazyryk, Altai mountains, southern Siberia. Late 4th–early 3rd century BC. © The State Hermitage Museum, St Petersburg, 2017. Photo: V Terebenin. Reconstruction drawing by E V Stepanova.
#Scythian #Siberia #warrior #animals #battle #ancient #ancienthistory #history

This spiral neck ornament is decorated with feline predators, perhaps tigers. Their long tails end in vulture heads and are inlaid with turquoise. This piece of exquisite jewellery was made over 2,300 years ago by the Scythians – groups of nomadic warriors who controlled a vast area stretching from the edge of China to the Black Sea. Fantastic animal imagery appears across Scythian objects – on jewellery, weapons, clothing, saddlery and even tattoos – and carried a deep significance for them.

Discover more about the #Scythians and their unique lifestyle in our major exhibition opening next month. Follow the link in our bio to find out more.

Gold hollow spiral torc. Southern Siberia, 4th–3rd century BC. © The State Hermitage Museum, St Petersburg, 2017. Photo: V Terebenin.
#Scythian #jewellery #gold #feline #necklace #torc

Over 2,000 years ago, Scythian women shaved their heads and wore elaborate wigs – some over 60cm tall! These were complex structures using different materials, including an elaborate hairstyle made of horsehair. They were decorated with leather birds and a wooden pin like this in the shape of a deer standing on a ball. These decorations may symbolise the tree of life, with birds in its branches and beasts at its root. Swipe to see an illustration of what this hairstyle would have looked like!

Learn more about these fearsome warriors and their exquisite craftsmanship in our #Scythians exhibition, opening 14 September. Follow the link in our bio to book your tickets.

Wooden pin finial in the shape of a deer. Altai mountains, southern Siberia. © The State Hermitage Museum, St Petersburg, 2017. Photo: V Terebenin. Artist’s impression of a Scythian. Reconstruction by D V Pozdnjakov.
#Scythian #deer #Siberia #hairstyle #hairstyles #ancienthistory #history

This is ‘Queen Katharine’s Dream’ by British artist, poet and printmaker William Blake. It’s an illustration to Shakespeare’s history play ‘Henry VIII’. The Queen is portrayed as an effigy on the monument while angels float upwards past two sleeping figures. It was made in 1809 using pen, grey ink and watercolour – it shows Blake’s dynamic style and fantastic imagery. #WilliamBlake #Shakespeare #WilliamShakespeare #HenryVIII #watercolour #art #artist #play

William Blake forged his own unique style of illustrated poems in the late 18th and early 19th centuries. He was a poet, printmaker and artist who developed relief etching as a technique to print words and illustrations on the same page. This print is from his epic poem ‘The Song of Los’, made in 1795. It shows the king and queen of fairies relaxing on lilies under a night sky. #WilliamBlake #Blake #poet #poem #printing #fairies #artist #illustration #art

British poet, printmaker and artist William Blake died #onthisday in 1827. Blake developed his own style of illustrated poems – he worked at the same time as Romantic poets and painters, but his style remained distinct. This watercolour shows Christ rising over two sleeping soldiers. It’s an illustration to British writer Edward Young’s well-known poem ‘Night Thoughts’ and was made in the late 1790s. #WilliamBlake #Blake #artist #EdwardYoung #illustration #Christ #art

For #InternationalCatDay, here’s a book that contains only drawings of cats – no words! It has 26 pages, each with its own small story. This is the front cover. It was published in 1898 and the prints were designed by Art Nouveau painter and printmaker Théophile Alexandre Steinlen. Pounce on a bargain in our shop – we have a huge range of products for cat lovers! Link in bio. #cat #cats #catday #BritishMuseum #Steinlen #ArtNouveau #prints

It’s #InternationalCatDay! We’ll be sharing some of our favourite feline friends from the collection today. This porcelain cat has been decorated with black and grey shading to cleverly suggest the textures and colours of its fur. Although it looks like a modern design, it was actually made between 1690 and 1722 in China. It’s thought that this was used as a night light as there are traces of black soot inside the body. Pounce on a bargain in our shop – we have a huge range of products for cat lovers! Link in bio. #cat #cats #catday #BritishMuseum #porcelain #China

This life-size bronze sculpture is one of the most famous depictions of a cat from ancient Egypt. It’s known as the Gayer-Anderson cat, and has gold ear and nose rings and a silver collar. It is a representation of the goddess Bastet, who was often shown in cat form and was particularly popular in Egypt’s Late Period (661–332 BC) when this was made. Bastet was the goddess of cats, daughter of the sun god and a protector of mothers. The sculpture weighs around 8kg without its base, and is hollow inside. When it was X-rayed by our scientists, it was found to have a large crack on its back that had been finely repaired, with little external evidence of a break. Swipe to see the X-ray! Pounce on a bargain in our shop – we have a huge range of products for cat lovers! Link in bio. #BritishMuseum #cat #InternationalCatDay #Bastet #cats #Xray #Egypt #AncientEgypt #bronze

This work is by war artist Henry Rushbury, who was 25 when the First World War broke out. He served as an aircraft mechanic with the Royal Flying Corps (precursor to the Royal Air Force) during the war and earned the rank of sergeant. In 1918 he was invited by the Ministry of Information to become an official war artist, and sent out to depict scenes of life in London. He produced a series of drawings of the Museum, showing the ‘sand-bagging’ of large objects as a defence against German air raids. In this scene three sculptures in the Egyptian gallery have been surrounded by sandbags – Rushbury has labelled them as Amenhotep I, Amenhotep III and the goddess Sekhet. © IWM (Art.IWM ART 1140) #FirstWorldWar #WorldWarOne #WWI #WW1 #history #BritishMuseum #London #WarArtist

The new threat of air raids during the First World War meant that the Museum had to take precautions to keep objects safe. Some were moved underground to the nearby Postal Tube Railway, but those too large to be moved were kept in the Museum and protected by sandbags, as seen in this photo. Small objects like books, manuscripts, prints and drawings went to the National Library of Wales at Aberystwyth, where the threat of air raids was substantially diminished. Aircraft at the time did not have the range to fly a return mission this far from the continent. #FirstWorldWar #WorldWarOne #WWI #WW1 #history #BritishMuseum #London

Britain declared war on Germany #onthisday in 1914, entering the First World War. For the Museum, there was a new wartime threat – the air raid. Aeroplanes didn’t have the range or carrying capacity to be used for raids at the start of the war, so Zeppelins were used instead. For safety, portable objects (including the Rosetta Stone) were moved to underground storage in the nearby Postal Tube Railway, 15 metres below London’s streets. Objects too large to be moved were sandbagged to protect them from the threat of German air raids. The Museum survived the war unscathed – the nearest bomb fell on Holborn. #FirstWorldWar #WorldWarOne #WWI #WW1 #history #BritishMuseum #London

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