That’s right, my first real exposure to Isis was in a Saturday morning TV serial. As a kid, I used to love that show and it piqued a little interest in ancient Egyptian history and mythology. Plus, let’s face it, Isis was (as the gay boys say) fierce.
So today I decided to go see an exhibit at the Museo Nacional de Antropología entitled Isis y la Serpiente Emplumada. The exhibit attempts to link the worlds of Egyptian and Mayan mythology via two of their main characters, Isis and Quetzalcoatl. Although there are some similarities (especially with regard to the central place held by these deities in their respective cultures), it would seem that the cult of the Virgin of Guadalupe (and her antecedent goddess, Tonantzin) would have been a more appropriate choice in comparison to Isis. The exhibit was absolutely enormous focusing mainly on the Egyptian artifacts (some of which were completely stunning) and not limiting itself to Isis, but also concentrating heavily on related deities such as Osiris, Horas and Seth (among others).
I was exposed to a few new things at the exhibit that were quite interesting. For one, I had no idea how much inter-cultural borrowing there was between ancient Macedonia, Greece, Rome and Egypt with regard to their dieties. There were a number of fascinating Greek and Roman representations of Isis, for example, and the exhibit talked about the cult of Isis taking hold as far away as England. There were also a number of formal objects in the collection I had never seen anything like before in Egyptian artifacts. Many cube shaped statues and carvings, as well as some incredibly detailed sarcophagi.
Overall, well worth seeing, even though this exhibit suffered from exactly the same problems I have previously noted in the other exhibits at the museum. Namely, bad English translations, scant or imprecise dating, and disorganized stroy telling.