Tutankhamun and the World of the Pharaohs
VIENNA, AUSTRIA (Dec. 10, 2007) — National Geographic, Arts and Exhibitions International and AEG Exhibitions, with cooperation from the Egyptian Supreme Council of Antiquities and the Kunsthistorisches Museum (KHM), with EMS EXHIBITS as the local promoter brought an extensive exhibition of more than 150 treasures from the tomb of the celebrated pharaoh Tutankhamun and additional ancient sites to Vienna in 2008, marking the first time the treasures of King Tut has visited Austria. “Tutankhamun and the World of the Pharaohs” ran from March 9 to Sept. 28, 2008, at the Völkerkunde Museum Vienna and became the most successful exhibition ever in Austria's history.
“Since the discovery of his tomb in 1922, Tutankhamun has captured the hearts of people around the world. Buried with him were treasures beyond the imagination, giving us a glittering glimpse into the past,” said Zahi Hawass, secretary general of Egypt’s Supreme Council of Antiquities. “Now, Tutankhamun has returned to give a new generation the chance to learn firsthand about the life and magic of this ancient monarch.”
“Tutankhamun and the World of the Pharaohs” is the second National Geographic exhibition dedicated to the remarkable treasures of King Tut and other ancient Egyptian objects.
The exhibition highlights treasures that are 2,500 to 4,600 years old and features more than 70 objects excavated from Tutankhamun’s tomb, including his golden sandals, which were created specifically for the afterlife and found on his feet when his mummy was unwrapped. Also included is one of the gold and precious-stone-inlaid canopic coffinettes that contained his mummified internal organs.
Other key objects in the exhibition from King Tut’s tomb are a colossal figure of Tutankhamun depicting the king as a young man, which originally may have stood at Tutankhahmun’s mortuary temple, and a shabti of Tutankhamun. One of the largest of the shabti statues, and the only such figure found in the antechamber, the purpose of this shabti was to ensure that the king would do no forced labor in the afterlife.
The exhibition also contains 75 objects from other Valley of the Kings tombs, including the golden mask of Psusennes, the third king of the 21st dynasty of Egypt, who ruled between 1047 B.C. and 1001 B.C. Made of gold, which the ancient Egyptians considered the flesh of the Gods, the royal headdress features a cobra and divine false beard, attesting to his royal and godly status.
“Tutankhamun and the World of the Pharaohs” features striking objects from some of the most important rulers throughout 2,000 years of ancient Egyptian history, from the 4th Dynasty into the Late Period (about 2600 B.C. – 660 B.C.). Derived from a variety of contexts, including temples and royal and private tombs, the exhibition focuses on the splendor of the Egyptian pharaohs, their function in the earthly and divine worlds, and what kingship meant to the Egyptian people.
The final gallery of the exhibition features CT scans that were obtained as part of a landmark, Egyptian research and conservation project, partially funded by National Geographic, which will CT-scan the ancient mummies of Egypt. The scans were captured through the use of a portable CT scanner donated by Siemens Medical Solutions, which allowed researchers to compile the first three-dimensional picture of Tutankhamun.
National Geographic published a companion book to the exhibition, written by Zahi Hawass and printed in both English and German.
Tutankhamun was one of the last kings of Egypt’s 18th Dynasty and ruled during a crucial, turmoil-filled period of Egyptian history. The boy king died under mysterious circumstances around age 18 or 19, in the 9th year of his reign (1323 B.C.).