Egypt is one of the best-known ancient cultures because of the publicity that surrounded the discovery of magnificent tombs of its kings (pharaohs) in the early twentieth century.

The distinctive style of Egyptian art, as well as the role of art in elaborate funerary rituals, captivates modern imagination. Egyptian culture had significant influence in ancient times as well, due to extensive trade networks. Egypt's location in northeastern Africa allowed for interaction with other African cultures, its development near the coast of the Mediterranean Sea promoted European contacts, and its proximity to the Red Sea linked it with the Near East and India.

The Egyptian collection includes types of art that may be familiar, from the sarcophagus lid for a mummy to faience amulets. More unusual examples, such as the wooden head of a pharaoh with some of its original gilt decoration, are included as well.