Coffin of Taosiris

Coffin of Taosiris. Akhmim. Egyptian. Late Period, 722-332 BC. Wood, pigment. Gift of the Georges Ricard Foundation. 

The Carlos Museum has received the Senusret Collection as a centennial gift from the Georges Ricard Foundation. The collection of approximately 1,500 objects is one of the most extensive collections of ancient Egyptian and Near Eastern artwork to be donated to a US museum. Highlights include Late Period coffins with mummies, gilded funerary masks, finely crafted bronze statuettes, and a collection of ancient glass. 

The gift of the Senusret Collection strengthens the Carlos Museum and Emory University’s position as a national and international resource for the study of ancient Egyptian and Near Eastern art and culture. 

“Emory is thrilled to accept this remarkable collection for the Michael C. Carlos Museum,” says Provost and Executive Vice President for Academic Affairs, Dwight A. McBride. "The selection of Emory over many other preeminent contenders as the permanent home for this collection demonstrates the international renown of the Carlos Museum and its staff. A gift of this magnitude further elevates our university’s reputation as a destination for scholars and students of ancient art and culture.”

Before arriving at the Carlos Museum, the collection was exhibited in Monaco during the mid-1970s as the Museum of Egypt and the Ancient World, built by collector Georges Ricard. The museum closed after a few years due to conservation concerns, and the collection left Monaco when the Ricard family moved to Santa Barbara, California. While a home was sought for the collection, Georges and his son Yann began to share the collection online beginning in 1997 as the Virtual Egyptian Museum.

After Georges’s death, the board of the Georges Ricard Foundation worked with consulting Egyptologists to find a permanent home for the Senusret Collection at a museum with broad-based commitment to education and conservation. Ultimately, the foundation chose the Carlos Museum, where the Senusret Collection will serve as a resource not only for university students, faculty, and staff but also for the greater Atlanta community.

“We never intended or imagined the Senusret Collection would leave California, but once we met the Carlos Museum staff, the unthinkable turned into the compelling. Although we didn’t want to part with the collection, we soon became convinced that entrusting it to the Carlos was a golden opportunity. . . . Nowhere else could we find such a cohesive, dedicated, and creative team of consummate professionals on a mission not only to lovingly preserve our world’s cultural heritage but also to use collections to ignite imaginations, convey meaning, elicit emotion, and inspire reflection” notes Yann.

After the art is further researched and conserved, a process likely to take several years, highlights of the collection will go on view as a special exhibition at the Carlos Museum. Currently, 18 objects from the collection are available online, and select works of art will be on view to attendees of Veneralia100, the museum’s fundraising gala, on May 18.