Life size head from a Statue of Nefertiti. The eyes and eyebrows would have originally been inlaid with glass and semiprecious stones.

 

The exhibition Tutankhamun and the Golden Age of the Pharaohs has been traveling the United States since 2005, the Boy King’s first visit since 1979, when he created a sensation and broke all records of museum attendance.

 

Detail of a gilded Coffin of Queen Tjuya. She is wearing a tripartite wig; her eyes are inlaid with obsidian and calcite set into blue glass. The detailed broad collar is inlaid with gold and glass.

 

Venues included the Los Angeles County Museum of Art, the Museum of Art in Fort Lauderdale, the Dallas Museum of Art, the Franklin Institute in Philadelphia and now the Fine Arts Museum of San Francisco until April of 2010.  The exhibit contains 130 objects, 50 are from the tomb of Tutankhamun, (including #6 Canoptic Jar Stopper; #5 the Torso of Tutankhamun; #2 Inlaid Pectoral), others are of his ancestors, (#4 Coffin of Queen Tjuya; #7 Canoptic Jar of Queen Kiya), and provide insight into life of ancient Egypt.

 

Head of Tutankhamun. The entire torso was carved of wood and painted. This magnificent statue was most likely a clothes dummy on which garments and jewelry would have been placed.

 

Great works of antiquity continue to fascinate and enthrall for reasons beyond the sheer craftsmanship and beauty.  A sense of mythology, history, ancient religion and mortality (in this case, immortality) come into play.  The exhibition, initiated by the famous Supreme Council of Antiquity, Zahi Hawass, a name that has become synonymous with Egypt and Egyptian antiquity, was organized and brought here by National Geographic and Art and Exhibitions.  The Fine Arts Museum’s curator of Ancient Art, Renee Dreyfus, included several different and important objects to enhance the exhibition in San Francisco.

 

Canoptic Jar Stopper of Tutankhamun. The calcite jar has a bust of the king wearing a nemes headdress.

 

Ancient Egyptian art, especially art of the 18th Dynasty, continues to enthrall the public.  The story of the Boy King Tut has special appeal since he became Pharaoh at the ago of nine (in 1333 BC) and ruled Egypt until he died a mysterious death nine years later.  He is the son of Akhenaten, the Pharaoh who moved the capitol of Egypt to Amarna and banned all priests and Gods except one, the God Aten.  His mother was Kiya, a minor wife, who died at childbirth. At the age of twelve, Tutankhamun married his half sister (custom at the time). They had no children but several mummified fetuses were found in Tutankamun’s tomb.  The same year his advisors moved the capitol of Egypt back to Memphis and restored the ancient multitheism.  Tut ruled for a few more years until he was murdered.

 

Canoptic Jar (storage vessel for mummified viscera) of Queen Kiya, probably Tutankhamun’s mother who died at childbirth.

 

His magnificent but small tomb was placed in the Valley of the Kings until Howard Carter discovered it intact in 1922.

 

Cosmetic jar with Lion. This magnificent jar is carved of calcite and has details of gold, paint and colored ivory, depicting images of fighting animals. The faces at the foot of the jar represent the traditional enemies of Egypt. The two columns on the side contain an image of the God Bes.

 

This inlaid Pectoral (necklace) with a lapis lazuli winged scarab and carnelian sun disk is made of gold and semiprecious stones. It spells out the name of Tutankhamun.





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