Published online by Cambridge University Press: 01 June 2021
Although the civilisation of the ancient Egyptians may have died thousands of years ago, modern cultures around the world continue to connect with it, from collections of antiquities, pyramids on US dollar bills and Egyptianising buildings, to Egypt-inspired motifs in clothing and the visual and plastic arts. Indeed, the Great Pyramid, Tutankhamun’s gold burial mask, hieroglyphs and even mummies are instantly recognisable as Egyptian by people from countries across the world. The familiarity that modern audiences have with the remnants of ancient Egyptian material culture and the Egyptian aesthetic are due to a well-established (and apparently endless) stream of books, articles, documentaries and touring museum exhibitions. Periods of what we call ‘Egyptomania’, when ancient Egypt has influenced popular, and even high, culture, have also contributed considerably to people’s interest and familiarity.