The Antiquities Collection comprises 5500 artefacts from the ancient Near East, Egypt as well as Greek, Etruscan and Roman art dating from over four millennia.
The exhibits offer an insight into burial culture, religious rituals, cultural exchange, quotidian life and arts and crafts of Antiquity, as well as their reception. Reliefs and grave furnishings including stone vessels, amulets and statuettes, give an insight into the Egyptian burial culture. Changes can be traced in the sarcophagi, stucco masks and mummy portraits. Various cultural influences are also reflected in divine figurines, whereas the Coptic textiles are most impressive. The Near East Department contains exceptional metal works, among others by Achaemenids. Cycladic idols, ceramics and jewellery originating from the Aegean bronze age are also presented. Illustrated are the central issues of Greek life such as competition, war, sports, drinking culture or the role of women. Votive reliefs offer an insight into the Greek holy rituals.
Grave vessels and Attic grave reliefs document changes which occurred from the 8th to the 3rd Century BC. Greek ceramics from Southern Italy and Athens, antique jewellery, Roman portraits and the art of the Etruscans constitute the core of the collection. The collection of antique caducei is unique in the world. Thanks to numerous donations the collection grows continuously. In 1917 the MKG took on the collection of the Hamburger merchant Johannes W. F. Reimers with over 1500 Greek and Italian ceramic pieces. Dr Walter Kopatscheck’s 127 vases and bronzes of superior quality came to the MKG in 1984.
Terracottas of the Ptolemaic-Roman period from the collection of Friedrich Gütte and antique jewellery from the Kobe von Koppenfels-Collection followed in 1984 and 1996 respectively. The latest donations include a tripartite folding mirror from Syracuse, acquired with the support of Georg W. Claussen in 2007 and a bronze statuette of Aphrodite, acquired from the Andre Derrain’s collection in 2011. The Antiquities Collection will be newly presented with a revised narrative from late Summer 2012.