The King Tut Exhibit has returned to San Francisco's De Young Museum. The photo above is the seal on the tomb door that Carter had the wherewithal to photograph before he broke the clay and opened the tomb. A photo of a photograph. I wanted to bring home pictures of some of the tombs riches but a no photo policy prevailed.
Grandson Owen identified with the Boy King who inherited the throne at age 9 and died at age 19. (Owen is a nine year old.) Its tough to wrap your mind around. That the Boy King was beloved was obvious by his respectful burial. He returned his country to traditional religion that had been changed by the previous King. His advisers obviously led him in the right direction, for his adoring subjects were grateful. At least, that is what we think from the parts and pieces cobbled together about his life.
I had forgotten how deeply he was buried with three coffins, one inside the other. Each coffin revealed beautiful gold masks before his final resting place was opened with the now famous golden death mask covering his mummified remains. A necklace of extraordinary beauty lay across his thighs. The opening of the coffins was uniquely depicted by the museum curators in an amazing life sized video image.
Seeing Tut's childhood chair with a foot rest, several different crowns that he wore, and the exquisitely carved busts of his father, aunts, sisters, grandmother and so on, made The Boy King more human and real than any pictures I'd seen or anything I'd read about him before.
The delicate artwork included in the exhibit was magical. Fine features rendered on small statues, authentic hair and clothing, lifelike and beautiful in clay and gold. Mirror backs, a knife sheath about a foot in length with multiple hunting scenes; everywhere complex stories rendered in gold or clay or wood. One had to admire the incredibly talented artisans.
And the writing. The hieroglyphs are such beautiful art that we forget, everywhere, on tables, chairs, clothing, walls, was the written story. We don't think of them as words, we think of them as design.
Go if you can.