Old Testament stories and people are featured in 2 museum exhibits

The Old Testament, a shared religious and cultural heritage for many of the peoples of the earth, is reflected in two current exhibits at the Museum of Church History and Art.

The exhibits coincide with the scriptural focus in much of the Church curriculum this year, including the Sunday School Gospel Doctrine class."Women in the Old Testament" runs through Sunday, March 6, in the museum's main foyer. "In the Beginning: Stories from the Old Testament" is featured in the museum's lower level and runs through June 12.

"The paintings, sculptures and artifacts in these exhibits should be of interest to anyone interested in the Old Testament or in artistic interpretations of religious texts," said Marjorie Conder, curator.

Among items featured in the women exhibit are a wood carving of Esther, and a painting of several women named in the genealogy of Mary's husband, Joseph, as outlined in the book of Matthew. A particularly striking piece is an oil portrait of Ruth and Naomi, painted by Judith Mehr. It was commissioned by the Relief Society general presidency for its board room.

The Old Testament stories exhibit includes representations of the creation of the earth, Adam and Eve, Noah and the ark and the great flood. It also includes stories about Abraham, Joseph, Moses, Samuel, David and Daniel.

Sister Conder said the exhibits reflect a distinct cultural diversity in the styles and media used by the artists. They include paintings and etchings, mural sketches, ceramics, Japanese rattanwork, a Panamanian mola, African batiks, a stained-glass Pueblo Indian blackware and a variety of textiles.

The Japanese rattanwork, for example, illustrates David and his sheep on the occasion when he was selected to be anointed king. (See 1 Sam. 16:7.)

The blackware pottery piece illustrates the story of Noah, with pottery figures and a wooden ark.

Interesting symbolism is shown in an oil-on-canvas painting illustrating Joseph's coat of many colors and applying it to the various peoples of the earth and the heritage they have through the blessing received by Joseph from his father, Jacob.

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