Object 2: Morally-Suspect Sandals
The three thousand years that stand between us and the closing of the tomb is a really long time. If each year equalled an inch of a building and King Tut stood on the doormat, we would be dancing our days on the twenty-fifth floor. And yet, through the painstaking, historical trudge up the stairs from ancient Egypt to the modern day, one type of footwear has remained relatively unchanged: the flip-flop. King Tut apparently had a large collection of gloves and footwear in his tomb, though only this pair was displayed; its cute straps and similarity to modern designs made this one of my favorite objects in the exhibit. The downside? They also come with a feisty political message.
Egypt had three main enemies along its borders: Asians, Libyans and Nubians. Along with keeping Egypt on its guard, these enemies also served as the main decor for footstools, walking sticks, chariot pieces, and these sandals. The message was clear. Pharaoh had his enemies under his feet and in the grip of his hand. Granted, Tut was only a teenager who'd never seen battle. He also was already in need of a cane due to disease, but when it comes to Pharaoh, it's best to promote the positive.
Love thy neighbor? Not for another 1 300 years. Until then, wear angsty flip-flops.
Sandals, footstools (detail) and canes from Tut's tomb