Sunday, November 15, 2009

Tutankhamun and the Golden Age of the Pharaohs

We went to the members day at the Tutankhamun and the Golden Age of the Pharaohs exhibit at the De Young Museum last Saturday. Our entrance was only $15 each and we each got an included audio tour. Our time was for 10 am which was perfect because there were no wait lines- when we left the exhibit, the lines were huge. Even though we were early in the day, there were still TONS of people. The first few rooms of the exhibit featured items from his ancestors, including a BEAUTIFUL full golden coffin of Tjuya. But my favorite piece in the exhibit was a golden coffinette from Tut's tomb. This is what part of it looks like- though this is an extreme closeup to maximize the intricate detail. Coffinettes were like canopic jars in that they held the internal organs of the pharaoh. This one was actually for another individual- they had to scratch off the cartouche inside and write over it- they open up the coffinette so that we could see it.

They also had this calcite canopic stopper of Tut's- they had to have a separate container for each organ so it makes sense that he would have several different types. William thinks that this stopper bears a resemblance to Michael Jackson :-)

They had a projected image of Tut's mummy and they showed where the amulets were located in the wrappings. I had hoped they might have had one of his several coffins- but they only had a replica video of the five or more that he had. I also liked seeing the map containing the layout of the tomb- I had never seen it before and it was fascinating to see just how small it was in comparison to other pharaohs. They think that since he died so young- probably due to a hunting or a chariot accident (due to the CT scan they performed on the body)- there was not enough time to build a proper tomb so he just took the tomb of his older adviser who assumed the throne after his death and just built himself a bigger tomb.

Also in the exhibit was one of the little coffins of one of two fetuses found in the tomb- they think that it was the daughter of Tut but won't be sure until some more tests are conducted. I highly recommend this National Geographic film about Tut. It was made a few years ago in 2005 and features the results of the MRI scan along with the history. As for the curse of Tuts tomb, it is mainly thought not to have been relevant since many of the individuals died several months after visiting the tomb. Some have speculated that they contracted so form of toxic mold but that probably would have killed them earlier.

And no trip would be complete without a stop a the gift shop where they even sold Ghiradelli chocolate in the shape of the headdress of the King Tut coffinette and don't I look somewhat similar to that (William thinks that I look more like a court jester than the wife of an Egyptian pharaoh). We didn't buy either of these items but don't worry- I did get the book about the exhibition :-)

This is my name in hieroglyphics inside a cartouche- and it was only $1 :-)

This was a great exhibit that gave us a taste of Egyptian treasures but it really has only peaked my desire to actually go to Egypt . . . .


Photos By Bekky said...

that looks awesome! i love ancient egyptian stuff! your name looks really cool like that ;-)

Jared and Reini said...

Cheryl! That is awesome you saw some of King Tut's loot! If you liked that, you would love Egypt. You should go! We'll be your travel agents!