Treasures from the tomb of King Tut are on exhibit now at the California Science Center in what will be their last U.S. visit. “KING TUT: Treasures of the Golden Pharaoh” features over 150 artifacts. This is three times the amount seen in previous U.S. museum showings because of limitations then imposed by Egypt. This new showcase includes 66 items that had previously never left Egypt.
The exhibition will be at the California Science Center in Los Angeles until January. It is the only U.S. stop on the 10-city world tour. The tour celebrates the 100-year anniversary of the 1922 discovery of the tomb of Tutankhamun (better known as King Tut). Eventually, the treasures will join the remaining 5,000+ objects found there as well as other artifacts at the Grand Egyptian Museum (GEM), currently being completed.
The exhibition’s curated collection includes elaborate statues, carvings, ornate jewelry, sculptures, ritual objects and some examples of items the Boy King may himself have used in life more than 3,000 years ago. “Each object is unique,” noted Egypt’s esteemed antiquities chief Dr. archaeologist Zahi Hawass, who added that the show is “a monumental achievement for the preservation of ancient Egyptian history and King Tutankhamun’s place in it.”
The exhibit opens with a brief film that sets the stage. Visitors then proceed through galleries displaying well-preserved objects entombed with King Tut to prepare his journey to the afterlife through the gates of the Netherworld. There are explanations about each artifact and how its use in assisting him on his after-death journey> Items not displayed in previous exhibitions are noted.
Some noteworthy objects include:
- New smaller relatable items are a pair of linen gloves, a Senet game set (one of the world’s oldest known board games), gold finger and toe covers, and a pair of gold sandals.
- Several portray the boy king (he ruled from age 9 to 19) as a conquering ruler. There is a captive carved on the handle of a wooded dagger, a shield showing him trampling on Nubian enemies, and a staff featuring a carved man on the handle so he can grip and choke him. There are also images conquering animals, such as Tut as a lion tamer on a shield.An over 6-foot tall wooden ka statue of Tutankhamun that served as a guardian in his tomb and marked his passage from the dark Netherworld to a rebirth at dawn.
- A gilded wood ceremonial bed likely made for the funeral with lion feet to guard him and other protective images and carvings.
- An ornate golden coffinette that held his liver, which was removed during his mummification.
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The exhibit also features Howard Carter, the British archaeologist who discovered Tutankhamun’s intact tomb. There is a detailed timeline of career before the find, which was just-in-time as his funds for digging in the Valley of the Kings were drying up. The exhibit also relates the care and detailed work the team he assembled undertook in documenting the artifacts in the tomb.
Ongoing research incorporating newer scientific tools is also explained. Hawass led a team that CT scanned the mummy to determine how he died. The experts on his team have also determined using DNA various parts of his family tree and that two fetuses found in the tomb were his children.
As Hawass noted, they are still excavating in the valley every day. They are looking for tomb of his widow and others likely to be entombed near Tut.
After the tour, the “KING TUT: Treasures of the Golden Pharaoh” artifacts will be housed in the Grand Egyptian Museum. Tour proceeds will actually help fund completion of the facility. Eventually, the museum will relate over 3,000 years of Egyptian history and house over 100,000 items, including the full collection from King Tut’s tomb. Many objects, including a 3,200-year-old statue of Ramesses II that weighs 83 tons, were moved there from Cairo and museums throughout the country. Part of the museum will open this Spring. It is located in Giza near the Great Pyramid of Khufu, Pyramid of Menkaure and the Great Sphinx.
The “KING TUT: Treasures of the Golden Pharaoh” exhibition is expected to boost local tourism and be a huge draw. A previous King Tut exhibit at the Los Angeles County Museum of Art in 2005 attracted About a million visitors.
Purchasing timed tickets in advance is recommended for those wanting to visit King Tut’s tomb treasures on at the California Science Center. The Science Center is also the final home of the Space Shuttle Endeavour. It is in the Exposition Park area, near the Los Angeles Memorial Coliseum, Natural History Museum of Los Angeles, California African American Museum, University of Southern California, and future home of the Lucas Museum of Narrative Art, which broke ground this year.
By Dyanne Weiss
Exhibit visit and press conference March 21, 2018
California Science Center: KING TUT: Treasures of the Golden Pharaoh
ArtNet: Treasures From King Tut’s Tomb Are Going on a Blockbuster World Tour
Photos by Dyanne Weiss