Emory Report
September 21, 2009
Volume 62, Number 4

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of Carlos gifts

Photos: Bruce M. White


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September 21, 2009
Campaign Emory
The art of generosity

Campaign Emory gifts from two friends of the Carlos Museum are strengthening the museum’s collections of Egyptian, Greek, and Roman art.

Endowment builds Egyptian collection

Mohamed Farid Khamis, a member of the Egyptian parliament who founded the international carpet company Oriental Weavers, has established an endowment to support the acquisition of Egyptian art at the museum. The gift that established the Mohamad Farid Khamis Fund for Egyptian Art was matched by internal funds from Emory’s strategic plan in support of museum acquisitions.

Khamis first began supporting the Carlos Museum in 2003 with a significant gift to build its ancient Egyptian collection. Among the artifacts in the Mohamed Farid Khamis Collection of Egyptian Art are a fish amulet thought to offer protection from drowning during the 12th dynasty and an exquisite sculpture of King Tutankhamun as a child, dating from about 1330 BC.

At the core of the museum’s Egyptian collection are artifacts—including the oldest Egyptian mummy in the Americas—acquired by Emory professor William Shelton, who traveled to Egypt in 1920.

Collector donates ancient gemstones

Michael Shubin, a Los Angeles art collector, donated his extensive collection of Greek and Roman gemstones to the Carlos Museum shortly before he passed away this year. With more than 400 objects, the Shubin gem collection is among the most extensive in private hands.

Carved from semi-precious and precious stones such as chalcedony or agate, with designs either engraved or left in relief, the gems were used to seal important documents in the manner of modern signet rings. Gemstones are among the most celebrated creations of the ancient world, says Jasper Gaunt, curator of the Carlos Museum’s Greek and Roman collections. “For institutions, they are famously difficult to collect because they present challenges for exhibition and, though tiny, can be expensive,” he says.

“For teaching and as works of art, intrinsically, their importance cannot be overstated,” Gaunt says. “They have much to tell us about every aspect of antiquity—economics, legal issues, technology, mythology, religion, portraiture, medicine, magic, and most important perhaps, the transfer of ideas from one group to another.”

The Shubin collection, well-known to scholars and collectors for a generation, comprises gems ranging in date from 4000 BC to 700 AD that were created throughout the ancient world. In size and in depth, the collection far surpasses that of any other university museum in the United States, Gaunt says.

When combined with gems already at the Carlos Museum, funded primarily through private support from Thalia Carlos and alumni Erica Frank and Randall F. White, the Carlos now possesses one of the most significant collections of ancient gems in the United States.

About Campaign Emory
Campaign Emory, a $1.6 billion fundraising endeavor, combines private support and the University’s people, places and programs to make a powerful contribution to the world community. The campaign is transforming every school and unit of the University as they work to address fundamental challenges: improving health, gaining ground in science and technology, resolving conflict, harnessing the power of the arts, and educating the heart and mind. Whether you give annually, include Emory in your estate plans, or create an endowment, your gift has great impact. For more information, visit campaign.emory.edu.