12 May 2023 - 31 January 2024
The Isreal Museum, Jerusalem, IL
The exhibition will explore banquets, feasts, and food in the Ancient Near East in the 3rd-1st millennium BCE, presenting them as the ideal setting for the negotiation of ideologies, and as a symbol of political and social status. Such festive events were employed by religious and royal institutions as a means to establish and reaffirm their political power, and consolidate the prevailing ideology. Elements of the feast, such as the sending of invitations, the financing of the event, the presentation of gifts, and aspects of inclusion and exclusion, which may at first appear trivial, are revealed in this exhibition to be potent tools in the hands of the initiators and organizers of the event.
This exhibition will showcase selected archaeological artifacts, iconographic representations, organic materials, and textual evidence, from the Land of Israel and neighboring cultures, primarily from the Israel Museum’s own rich holdings. Through a lavish display of artifacts, The Feast will highlight the social mechanisms that surrounded the communal consumption of food, offering visitors a sense of the motivations at play around the table in antiquity, and their reflection in contemporary culture.