A reader sent me this photograph of the ceremonial axe of Pharaoh Ahmose I (c. 1549–1524 BC) of ancient Egypt. Click the image for a larger view.
According to the Egyptian Museum:
This axe was executed to commemorate the liberation of Egypt from the Hyksos. The copper blade together with its cedar wood handle is entirely covered with gold and ornamented with precious stones. The inlaid decoration of the axe is divided on each side into three compartments, all decorated with motifs alluding to the expulsion of the Hyksos and the re-unification of the country by Ahmose. The side shown here is ornamented with the royal cartouche, a scene depicting the king killing an Asiatic enemy and a representation of the king as a griffin symbolizing the war god Montu.
It's fascinating to look at that axe and realize that, about 3,500 years ago (give or take a century), someone envisioned it, someone else designed it, another crafted it, and it was presented to the ruler of Egypt . . . and we're still looking at it today. I wonder how many of our modern works of art will last that long?