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Collecting Antiquities


I’ll take one of those and one, of those and one of those…


Mendes spent four and a half months in Egypt. He traveled by boat along the Nile, eventually as far as the Second Cataract, now in modern Sudan. In addition to viewing the sights, Mendes spent a great deal of time building his collections, including botanical specimens and antiquities.


Objects from Mendes’ collection in the Johns Hopkins Archaeological Museum's original location, c. 1915 Photo credit: Ferdinand Hamburger Archives, Sheridan Libraries, Johns Hopkins University.

The antiquities collection consists primarily of Ancient Egyptian artifacts with some pieces from later periods. The objects are varied, including statuary, a scribal palette and a beautiful carved wooden boat, in addition to substantial numbers of shabtis and amulets. Numbering nearly 700 items, these objects became part of the core collection of Johns Hopkins University’s Archaeological Museum.

Loaned objects on display at the Jewish Museum of Maryland during The A-Mazing Mendes Cohen exhibit. 


Head here for more on the Mendes Cohen collection at the Johns Hopkins Archaelogical Museum!

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These objects are among the nearly 700 Egyptian antiquities that Mendes acquired during his travels.

(left) Faience shabti with hieroglyphs, 3525; Faience shabti with hieroglyphs, 3529

(above) Faience amulet, feline goddess, 3604; Faience amulet, Horus, 3613; Faience amulet, Khnum, 3617; Faience amulet, Taweret, 3632; Faience amulet, Nephthys, 3644; 

(back row of case) Limestone dummy canopic jar (3977); Alabaster vessel (3956); Black stone vessel (3953); Heart Scarab (3807) and wedjat eye (3683).

Courtesy of The Johns Hopkins University Archaeological Museum.

The collection also contained a number of mummified remains, including dogs, cats, birds and even people. Partly due to their fragility, most of the mummies Mendes collected are no longer intact. Unwrapping mummies was, during Mendes’ lifetime, a popular practice.


After viewing such an event in London in July 1835, Mendes wrote, “I anticipate much gratification in opening mine.”

Mendes continued to collect after leaving Egypt.

Another Souvenir

Mendes purchased this ceremonial jacket during his travels, possibly in Turkey.

Gift of Mary Adair Dockery (University Collection, Johns Hopkins University), JMM 1996.169.1

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