Homer’s ‘Iliad’ describes Troy as a great and powerful city and according to myth, the Trojan War ended with its destruction. Some believed the legendary settlement never existed, but others set out to search for the reality behind the myth.
#TroyExhibition will offer tantalising clues to the truth behind the mythical story, peeling back the archaeological layers to showcase the real ancient Troy.
Discover the evidence for the real Troy – read our curator’s blog via the link in today’s bio.
#TroyExhibition will explore the tale of the Trojan War, following its cast of characters through the action with objects spanning thousands of years. Meet the characters and follow the key events via the link in our bio.
Shown here are objects that depict scenes from the myth – on the first pot, Achilles faces Hector in combat. In the relief, the Trojans drag the fateful wooden horse into their city. On the final pot, Odysseus finds a way to overcome the powerful Sirens on his long journey home.
These beautiful vases are some of the finest examples of Chinese blue-and-white porcelain ever made. They’re decorated with dragons, peonies, phoenixes, and elephant-head handles! 🐲🌺🐘 The inscriptions tell us they were made in 1351 for Zhang Wenjin, who presented them to a Daoist temple along with an incense burner.
These finely decorated dishes were all made in Ōkawachi, southern Japan, between the 17th and 19th century.
At the time, this area of Japan was famed for its high-quality porcelain – producing everything from brush-rests, bottles and vases to dishes like these. The designs were often inspired by fashionable textile patterns of the day.
Discover the fascinating history of Japan in Rooms 92–94.
This statue represents King Thutmose III with his hands in a pose of devotion. Ramesses II put his name on the belt and shoulders, and his son Merenpath added his name on the chest. Ancient Egyptian kings would often alter older statues, replacing a previous pharaoh’s name with their own.
The column in the foreground was made around 1390 BC for a temple dedicated to Horus, the falcon god of kingship.
Explore the art of ancient Egypt in the Egyptian Sculpture Gallery before it opens to the public in our special morning tours – find out more at britishmuseum.org
This colossal statue of Ramesses II once flanked the entrance to the king’s mortuary temple, known as the ‘Ramesseum’. It was carved around 1200 BC from a single block of stone weighing about 20 tonnes, which was transported almost 200 kilometres to the temple on sleds and a purpose-built boat. Like all ancient Egyptian statues it was originally painted – traces of pigment remain on the eyes, skin and headcloth.
Ancient Egyptian kings would often alter older statues, replacing a previous pharaoh’s name with their own. Ramesses II, who reigned between 1279–1213 BC, would even rework the facial features of statues to resemble his own.
Both of these sculptures were modified during Ramesses’ reign. The figure on the left was made in about 1479–1425 BC. It almost certainly represents Thutmose III, but his name, once present on the belt, has been erased.
The head on the right was made between 1390–1352 BC, during the reign of Amenhotep III. It originally represented him, but a century later the face was reworked to look like Ramesses’ official portrait.
This watercolour showing the White Tower of the Tower of London was made in 1784 by British artist Francis Grose.
The White Tower sits at the centre of the site and was first painted white in 1240 on the order of King Henry III. Over its nearly 1,000-year history, the Tower has been used for many different purposes – including as a fortress, a palace and a prison.
St Paul’s Cathedral has been a prominent feature of London’s skyline for over 300 years. It was designed by Sir Christopher Wren and consecrated in 1697 – this view showing elegantly dressed figures around the cathedral was made in the 1750s.
The nickname ‘Big Ben’ is often used for the iconic clock tower which stands at the north end of the Houses of Parliament, but it was first given to the clock’s Great Bell, which weighs over 13 tons! Today marks 160 years since the Great Clock started keeping time.
The Elizabeth Tower, named after Queen Elizabeth II in 2012, was completed in 1859. This print shows how the unfinished clock tower looked in 1858, with scaffolding around the top.