They call it "Middle Child Syndrome" - where, in a family of three kids, the middle child feels left out or neglected.
Egypt's Middle Kingdom is not so dissimilar. Sandwiched between the pyramids of the Old Kingdom and the gilded New Kingdom of Tutankhamun, the Middle Kingdom is often starved of attention. Yet the ancient Egyptians looked back at the Middle Kingdom as a classical period of power and cultural achievement.
New York's Metropolitan Museum of Art has brought the Middle Kingdom out of the shadows with its acclaimed exhibition, "Ancient Egypt Transformed".
And there's just one more week to see it.
The Middle Kingdom emerged from a century of division; a time of civil war known as the First Intermediate Period. Central royal authority had faltered and provincial governors, formerly loyal to the palace, now wasted no time in filling the leadership vacuuming and seizing power over their region. Artistic styles took on distinctly local flavours.
A Theban family however, dreamed of a return to glory and the battle for total control was eventually won by King Mentuhotep II in around 2055 B.C., ushering in a confidence in art, literature and religious freedom that lasted 400 years. Now the afterlife was within reach for anyone who could afford the expensive preparations, not just those granted it by royal favour.
This fine royal statuette, wearing the Red Crown of Lower Egypt, features in the Met's exhibition. It was discovered in a shrine near the Middle Kingdom mud-brick pyramid of Senusret I at Lisht South, near the mouth of the Fayum. (Museum Accession Number: 14.3.17).
After a gap of nearly 300 years, royal pyramids were back in fashion. The similarity between the Middle Kingdom pyramids and their Old Kingdom cousins, however, was only skin deep. Underneath the sheath of shiny limestone, the Middle Kingdom pyramids were made of mud-brick.
The final day for "Ancient Egypt Transformed: The Middle Kingdom" will be Sunday, January 24. We are sure that the Met has helped the Middle Kingdom stand tall amongst its elder and younger siblings.
Subscribers to Nile Magazine can access the previous issue (Nov-Dec 2015) which includes a fabulous, full-colour look at "Ancient Egypt Transformed", and showcasing a number of the exhibition's star pieces. Click on "Nile Store" to buy yours.