Animals have always held a privileged role in humankind’s history. Hunted, domesticated, admired and revered from prehistoric times onwards, animals were part of the early cosmogonies, mythologies and pantheons of ancient civilisations, often endowed with mysterious, divine or supernatural powers.
The Levett Collection’s wide historical and geographic range covers the 3rd millennium BC Western Asia and Iran to the age of Imperial Rome and the Parthian empire of the third century AD. The heart of the collection focuses on Egypt and the pharaohs, the Greek and Hellenistic worlds as well as the Roman Empire. The figurines and objects presented here help illustrate the role of animals and their place in ancient daily life, and help us discover the abundance and richness of representations that populated both the life and imagination of ancient civilisations.
In what contexts were animals represented? What was the function of the objects representing animals in the Levett Collection? This exhibit proposes to understand the animal world through a reflection in four stages: on the presence of animals in the world of the gods and their presence in worship and sacrifices, but also how both wildlife and domestic animals were represented in the figurative arts.