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Women and Beauty in the Ancient World: archaeology exhibition examines 2,000 years of beauty practices

Lipscomb’s Lanier Center for Archaeology exhibition is free and open to the public through May 2024.

Keely Hagan | 615-966-6491 | 

necklaces made of beads

This academic year, thousands of visitors to Lipscomb’s campus will get a chance to explore how beauty has been expressed by women in times both modern and ancient, all in one place. 

While Lipscomb’s Department of Fashion and Design is hosting an exhibit in Beaman Library highlighting the career and fashion of Dolly Parton this semester, right next door the Lanier Center for Archaeology is hosting an exhibit on the ancient world’s view of women and beauty that will run Oct. 30, 2023 through May 17, 2024.

Lipscomb’s Lanier Center houses on-campus collections of more than 1,200 artifacts from Israel, Egypt, and other locales, donated by various benefactors, in addition to a collection from a dig in Jordan, comprising a total of 14 collections and three archives.

women's rings
carvings of women

The Lanier Center’s current exhibition, Women and Beauty in the Ancient World, is presented as a self-guided tour of everyday and luxury objects, providing a glimpse into the beauty practices of women in the ancient Near Eastern and Eastern Mediterranean world. The exhibition also houses a special display discussing the role of women in music and cultic practices. It spans about 2,000 years, from the Middle Bronze Age (c. 2000 BCE to 1550 BCE) to the Roman and Byzantine Periods. 

The artifacts on display are from the Lanier Center’s newest acquired collection, its standing permanent collection and some items on loan from private donors and sister institutions. They include jewelry, cosmetics, clothing accessories, bottles used for perfumes and expensive oils as well as female cultic figurines and much more.

woman's hair comb
makeup mortar and pestle

The Women and Beauty in the Ancient World exhibition is located in the Lanier Center space inside Beaman Library, which is near the check-in and waiting area for the ticketed Dolly Parton and the Makers: My Life in Rhinestones exhibition inside the John C. Hutcheson Art Gallery and presented by Lipscomb University Fashion & Design, Oct. 31-Dec. 9, 2023.  

The Women and Beauty in the Ancient World exhibition is free and open to the public through May 2024. It will be available for patrons of the Dolly Parton exhibition to view as they wait for their assigned and ticketed tour times.