Holiday Day Trip
The King Tut Exhibit at the Discovery Center in New York City is wrapping up it’s final USA tour and has been extended until January 17, 2011. If you don’t want to miss out on it, now is the perfect opportunity to take take the kids or grandkids over the holiday school vacation on a family day trip to see this magnificent exhibit!
I missed out visiting The Treasurers of Tutankhamun (King Tut) when it last toured the USA in 1976 – 1979, and was determined not to miss it again in my lifetime. For years I’ve had subscriptions to National Geographic Magazine and was able to view all the glorious photos and learn more about the “Boy King.“
When I visited London as a teenager in 1969, I became fascinated with Egyptian history when my host family took me to see the British Museum of History, which exhibits one of the largest collections of mummies outside of Egypt.
The King Tut exhibition Tutankhamun and the Golden Age of the Pharaohs will be on view in New York City at the Discovery Times Square Exposition . . . through Jan. 2, 2011, marking the first time a collection of treasures from the young pharaoh’s tomb has visited the city since the groundbreaking 1979 exhibition that attracted 1.8 million visitors in New York. The National Geographic exhibition contains more than twice the number of artifacts shown previously, with more than 130 objects of exceptional craftsmanship and beauty that provide insight into the daily life and royal burial practices of the 18th Dynasty. Fifty of the artifacts are from Tutankhamun’s tomb, only a handful of which were part of the 1979 exhibition, and an additional 80 objects come from the tombs of his ancestors and other high-ranking figures of his time.
Tutankhamun ruled as one of the last kings of Egypt’s 18th Dynasty. Though he appears to have been a minor king who made only modest contributions to the Egyptian empire, he continues to captivate the popular imagination.
Tutankhamun was born around 1343 B.C. in the Egyptian city of Akhetan, now known as Amarna, and died from unknown causes in 1323 B.C., in the ninth year of his reign.
Some Egyptologists have speculated that he was murdered by his successor, Ay. An X-ray taken in 1968 revealed damage to his skull, which could have been caused by a fall, a blow to the head, or during mummification.
More than 50,000 visitors a week filed through each of the museums that housed the King Tut exhibit on its last U.S. tour. Nearly eight million people saw the artifacts during the three years it toured America.
King Tut Treasurers Visit New York City For the First Time In a Generation: New York Is Final Stop On Tour
On one of the coldest Saturdays this season, I visited the King Tut Exhibit NYC at the Discovery Times Square Exposition along with my daughter, a Graduate student in Psychology, and her friend.
Upon entering, we were first shown a brief movie describing the background of King Tut. We opted to purchase the hand-held audio devices in order to gain a first-hand descriptive perspective of what we were going to be viewing.
The Egyptian artifacts were displayed in subtly lit display cases as we meandered through a maze of darkened rooms. It felt as if we were walking through the Boy King’s tomb ourselves as we passed through room to room – each with it’s own mysterious music softly playing in the background. I experienced a heightened sense of awareness and excitement wondering what “discovery” I was going to encounter next!
There were also actual old movie reels from 1922 set up in alcoves depicting the discovery by Howard Carter of the tomb in the Valley of the Kings, along with visits and appearances by important dignitaries of the time who made the trip to Egypt.
We were able to spend as much time viewing each display as we needed and spent approximately 2-1/2 hours viewing the displays. The attendees were a diverse multi-generational age group, from all walks of life and cultures.
Among the highlights of the artifacts on display:
Tutankhamun possessed four miniature coffins fashioned of gold and inlaid with colored glass and semi-precious stones. Each stood in a separate compartment in an alabaster chest. A band of inscription running down the front names Imseti—one of the sons of Horus—and the goddess Isis, who would protect the deceased and the particular mummified organ within, in this case the Pharaoh’s liver. The cartouche encircling the king’s name on the interior originally named one of Tutankhamun’s relatives and was reworked to name the boy king, indicating that he died quickly and unexpectedly. (15.55″ x 4.33″ x 3.93″)
The golden diadem, inlaid with colored glass and semi-precious stones, was still around the head of Tutankhamun when Howard Carter opened the royal coffin (in 1922) more than 3,200 years after the young king died. The two protective deities, represented by the vulture and the cobra, which originally projected from the front had been removed and placed near the thighs of the mummy to allow the golden face mask to be put into place. (Diadem 15.98″ x 9.72″, Headband 8.07″ diameter 7″ x .86″, Appendages back 10.90″ x 12.51″, Appendages side 5.86″ x 5.86″)
Carved of wood and then covered in gesso and painted, this bust of Tutankhamun portrays the young king as a youthful figure rather than a divine being. Although wearing a royal crown with the cobra deity projecting at his brow, he has on a simple linen shirt through which the upper part of his rib cage shows. The bust has a pleasant smile, and his earlobes are pierced, a custom for both males and females during this period. The excavators suggested that the enigmatic statue may have served as a clothes dummy on which garments of the king could be draped or his jewelry displayed. It may also be possible that it served another function, since busts not unlike this are known to have been used during both earlier and later eras in certain religious rituals. (30.31″ x 16.33″ x 11.92″)
Golden Ceremonial Dagger and Sheath
So important was this dagger to Tutankhamun that it was placed upon his mummy among the wrappings. The blade is highly polished gold with simple and elegantly engraved details. The hilt, also of gold, has alternating bands of
granulated gold and cloisonné of red and blue glass. The pommel surmounting the handle has a circlet of two falcons with outstretched wings, while its top is decorated with a floral motif, in the center of which are two cartouches with the names of the king. (Dagger 12.51″ full length, Blade 8.03″ x 1.33″, Sheath 8.11″ x 1.69″)
A portion of the proceeds from this exhibition is helping to fund antiquity conservation efforts in Egypt, including the building of a new Grand Museum in Cairo that will provide a world-class home for the country’s treasured artifacts.
Discovery Times Square Exposition (Discovery TSX), New York City’s first large scale exhibition center, presents visitors with limited-run, dynamic educational and entertaining exhibit experiences as they explore some of the world’s defining cultures, art, artifacts and events. Located in the vast space that once housed The New York Times’ printing presses, Discovery TSX features an all-star lineup of some of the world’s most popular and riveting exhibitions in unique and expanded installations.
Discovery Times Square Exposition is open daily and is located at 226 West 44th Street between 7th Avenue and Broadway. Venue hours: Sunday – Wednesday: 10 a.m. – 8 p.m., Thursday – Saturday: 10 a.m. – 9:30 p.m. Last admission is 90 minutes prior to closing. Exhibition admission tickets are not needed for access to café, private events space or retail store.
For exhibition tickets or more information visit: DiscoveryTSX
PHOTO CREDIT: © Andreas F. Voegelin, Antikenmuseum Basel and Sammlung Ludwig Dynasty 18, Reign of Tutankhamun 1323-1322 BCE
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