Curated by the Egyptian Supreme Council of Antiquities and of course in partnership with the Louvre, this exhibition aims at being immersive and gathers together over 150 original items coming straight from King Tutankhamun’s tomb.
This exhibition is an invitation to travel and discover. Only speaking of the surname of the Pharaoh takes us to a desert of sand and refelects pyramids, sarcophagus, mummies and hidden treasures.
Indeed, if the reign of this Pharaoh was short and not very glorious, the mystery around his name comes from the discovery of his tomb and the fantastic treasure it housed, by British archeologist Howard Carter on November 4, 1922. The latter having described his discovery as follow: "as my eyes grew accustomed to the light, details of the room within emerged slowly from the mist, strange animals, statues, and gold - everywhere the glint of gold".
Over 100 years after the discovery of this tomb, Paris dedicates an exhibition to King Tutankhamun. It includes over 150 pieces including 60 items leaving Egypt for the first time. Among them: coffins and sarcophagus adorned with precious stones such as lapis-lazuli, vases decorated with hieroglyphs and even some toys and knick-knacks from the child pharaoh that accompanied him through his burial.
For Egyptians from the Antiquity, death was seen as the beginning of a new life, but this rebirth was possible only if the corpse was preserved with the right rites and surrounded by funeral items to accompany it in this dangerous journey. Whatever it be, these items, displayed in Paris from March 23 to September 15, 2019 keep on perpetuating the pharaoh's memory and his immortality.
Among the pieces displayed, discover:
One of the most fascinating items unearthed in Tutankhamun’s tomb, this small gilded wooden naos displays a décor staging the intimacy of the royal couple that Tutankhamun and his wife were.
These – domestic – themes highlight the role of queen Ankhesenamun towards her husband, especially her ‘invigorating’ action, down there (with hints to the coronation) and beyond.
During the mummification, viscera are treated separately from the body. They were embalmed, anointed with ointments and resins, then wrapped in linen bandages, before being put into recipients called “canope”. The latter were often canopic jars or even – like for Tutankhamun – miniature caskets and there were four of them. They were put into a calcite chest, each cavity dedicated to canopic caskets of the king being locked by a cover bearing the effigy of Tutankhamun.
The mini casket depicted here was for the liver, an organ put under the protection of the goddess Isis and an anthropomorphic genius called Imset.
This spectacular life-size statue of Ka and of Tutankhamun marks his way from the dark night to beyond the rebirth at dawn. The black skin symbolizes the Nile’s fertility and its eternal promise of resurrection. The gold is the sun and makes the flesh of the gods and depicts Tutankhamun’s divinity. The royal nemes headdress of the guardian depicts Re Khepri, the rising sun god. Another statue almost identical to this wore a khat symbol of the night. These two statues stood guard the King’s tomb and are part of the example of the best and most complete items of this kind that has been found so far.
This statue leaves Egypt for the first time.
This ebony ceremonial be covered in gold leaves was probably built for Tutankhamun’s funerals. To ensure the pharaoh’s safety and keep away the dark forces decided to harm him, divine figures have been engraved at the foot of the bed: Bes, the god protecting newborns and Tauret, the hippopotamus goddess, stay by the king’s side during his rest.
According to Egyptian believes, the dead were just sleeping. At the moment of their rebirth, they woke up. For the living, sleeping was a state close to death. Gods spoke to sleepers and the latter’s nightmares were the proof of their vulnerability compared to the evil’s supernatural forces. Waking up every day was a form of rebirth.
A temporary exibition we hope it will complete the famous Egyptian gallery of the Louvre to learn even more about the history of our ancestors and the humanity in general.
Meet on March 2019 at the Grande Halle de la Villette.
From 23 March 2019 to 15 September 2019
Grande Halle de La Villette
Parc de La Villette
75019 Paris 19
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