Saturday, 17 October 2020

London Visits pre lockdown – the A-Z on Tutankhamun’s exhibition … part 9 …

 

The treats on show focused on the significance and meaning of the king’s burial items … a few here in the A-Z format …

 

Calcite vases on show in exhibition

A is for Antiquities … the Egyptian Ministry of Antiquities has over recent decades let museums around the world exhibit specific treasures – and this one was to commemorate the centennial of Tutankhamun’s discovery … as well as the construction of his final resting place in 2022 in the brand new Grand Egyptian Museum, Giza within the Cairo metropolis.

 

A is for Ankh symbol of life – is an ancient Egyptian hieroglyphic symbol, used in writing and art.

 

A is for Akhenaten, Tutankhamun’s father … the Eighteenth Dynasty of Egypt: family tree here …

 

B is for Boomerang – some found in the tomb would work as returning boomerangs, others were decorative … Tutankhamun, as the teen child he was, loved playing with these …

 

Gilded Bow case

B is for Bows – beautiful gilded wooden compound working bows with glass, calcite inlays, horn and sinew … there were more than 30 of these, along with 47 older style bows and more than 400 arrows in the tomb …

 

C is for Lord Carnarvon (1866 – 1923) of Highclere Castle, who had married an illegitimate daughter of millionaire banker Alfred de Rothschild: his debts were paid off and there was a substantial settlement – he was an enthusiastic amateur Egyptologist and was able to finance many excavations …

 

Carnarvon, his daughter and Howard Carter at tomb

C is for Howard Carter for whom a dream came to pass … the discovery of Tutankhamun’s tomb and the restoration of his place in Egyptian history.

Howard Carter had originally come to Egypt in 1891 as an artist to copy and paint the colourful scenes in the Middle Kingdom tombs … at this time the “father of modern Egyptology” was Sir William Flinders Petrie – who, once that spark of interest in Egyptology had been lit, guided Carter’s future passion.

 

C is for Calcite … calcite alabaster was the kind primarily used in ancient Egypt …

 

D is for Dynasties – chronology of Ancient Egyptian History: pre-dynastic period ca 4400 – 3100 BC;

Tutankhamun’s dynastic period occurs in the New Kingdom of the 18th, 19th, and 20th dynasties ca 1550 – 1070 BC.

 

E is for Eighteenth Dynasty founded by Ahmose 1 (ca 1549 – 1524 BC) – he came to the throne when he was ten, then reigned for over 25 years.

Ahmose’s Eighteenth Dynasty was one of the strongest to ever rule Egypt.  He reorganised the administration, reopened quarries, mines and trade routes, and began massive construction projects … determined that Egypt would never again fall prey to outsiders.

Egypt’s wealth was secured and added to until Tutankhamen inherited the kingdom where foreign rulers claimed that “gold was like dust – Egypt was the most powerful and wealthiest empire of the ancient world, when the Egyptian civilisation was at its zenith.

 

Gold, Lapis, and Carnelian bead bracelet
with Amethyst scarab clasp

F is for Faience … widely used for small objects from beads to models found in tomb …  all necessary for the journey into the Afterlife. 

 

F is for Flinders Petrie – the father of modern Egyptology.   ‘A Digger’s Life’ … and the Petrie Museum –see my post Sept 2013.

 

G is for Gold … the illuminating, glinting gold espied by the flashlights - through that first ‘break’ into the tomb … these ranged in size from the enormous shrines of gilded wood that surrounded the sarcophagus, to tiny individual beads.

When Carter and Carnarvon entered the first room (Antechamber) they encountered this life-size figure of the king …

 

This life-size statue -
wooden guardian statue
of the Ka of the King
(found in the Antechamber)

H is for Herwer (Horus the Elder) ... a falcon headed deity found in a wooden box in the form of a shrine in the Treasury.

 

H is for Hieroglyphics - the formal writing system used in Ancient Egypt.  A cartouche is an oval with a line at one end at right angles to the oval … indicating that the text enclosed is a royal name. 

 

Calcite vase with hieroglyphics
and cartouches

I is for Ivory – ebony and ivory inlays are very Egyptian and used in many of the items found in the tomb, including child-sized furniture … an armchair, a lion-shaped ritual bed, boxes …

 

A child's armchair
found in tomb

J is for Jewellery … all forms of unimaginable items … amethyst, faience, glass, gold leaf, ebony, ivory, cedar, lapis lazuli, carnelian, turquoise, obsidian, green feldspar, electrum (gold and silver alloy – green gold), travertine, resin …

 

Pectoral, Chain, and 
Counterpoise with Lapis
Scarab flanked by Uraei

K is for King and KV – is the standard Egyptological designation of each tomb – KV62 - for the young pharaoh Tutankhamun’s tomb in the Valley of the Kings.

 

L is for Tutankhamun Lying Peacefully undisturbed in his nest of coffins for over 3,000 years … the young golden pharaoh.

 

Howard Carter examining
Tutankhamun's innermost coffin -
it was solid gold, with his gilded
embalmed body within - 


L is for Lotus … the white lotus blossoms open at night, associating it with the moon and the sun.

Around the cups run the hieroglyphic signs proclaim a well wish for the king’s ka (his life force, which persisted after death).

 

Ay performing the Opening
of the Mouth Ceremony
for Tutankhamun

M is for the Opening of the Mouth Ceremony … an essential for the Mummy so it could breathe and speak in the afterlife … the Book of the Dead contains a spell for this process … more information can be found here

 

M is for Maat – the ancient Egyptian concepts of truth, balance, order, harmony, law, morality and justice.  Maat was the goddess who personified these concepts, and regulated the stars, seasons, and the actions of mortals and the deities who had brought order from chaos at the moment of creation.

 

N is for the River Nile – where cultures rose and flourished, until one king ruled the entire Nile valley from the first cataract at Aswan to the Mediterranean … the first pharaoh had emerged.

      

N is for the Netherworld … the Afterlife … the realm of the dead in ancient Egyptian mythology. 

 

Nefertiti

Nefertiti – ruled after her husband’s death before her step-son, Tutankhamun inherited on her death.

 

O is for Oils – perfumed oils essential for rituals were highly valued … as they were pressed from plants or steeped in liquids and fats for prolonged periods … the art of distillation was not known.

 

Tutankhamun's Perfume Oil
jar - symbolising the Unions
of Upper and Lower -
made of alabaster (calcite)


O is for Ostriches … hunted by Tutankhamun in his chariot; they were an important bird - for their feathers and eggs were prized as luxury items.  It was a royal sport that allowed the king to demonstrate his control over nature.  The Egyptian pharaohs were also known to hunt hippopotamus in the Nile.

Gilded Wooden "Ostrich Hunt" Fan
 

P is for Pharaoh – the common title now used for the monarchs of ancient Egypt from the First Dynasty (c 3150 BC) until the annexation of Egypt by the Roman Empire in 30 BCE.


 

P is for Pschent – the double crown worn by rulers in ancient Egypt – representing the pharaoh’s power over all of unified Egypt.

 

It combined the White
Hedjet Crown of Upper
Egypt and the Red
Deshret Crown
of Lower Egypt

Q is for Queen Ankhesenamun (ca 1348 – after 1322 BC), who was the daughter of Pharaoh Akhenaten and his Great Royal Wife Nefertiti, and who became the Great Royal Wife of her half-brother Tutankhamun.

 

R is for Rituals – through a series of rituals performed in the temple of Amun at Karnak, the young prince was transformed into the king of Egypt, the living Horus, representative of the gods on earth.

The forces behind the decisions regarding the young king were the adults in the royal court.

 

R is for Religious calendar … this kept the court on the move throughout the country … as well as royal duties, the young king and his wife would have had time to boat, play board games, drive chariots, hunt … he did not allow his deformed foot, nor his scoliosis, to interfere with his pleasures.

 

Miniature Board Games box

R is for the foremost Responsibility of an Egyptian king – that of maintaining ‘maat’ – see ‘M’ above.

 

S is for Spells to help with the transition on death through the underworld … Afterlife Texts as they are tended to be known … or Ancient Egyptian funerary texts …

 


T is for Tutankhamun’s Tomb and Treasures – it’s been fascinating to learn about the tomb, its rooms and treasures …

 

U is for Unbelievable exhibition exquisitely put together … displaying on the walls a fantastic show of art found in the tombs, projecting relevant notations for us …

  


V is for Valley of the Kings … where for nearly 500 years from the 16th to 11th century BC, rock –cut tombs were excavated for the pharaohs and powerful nobles of the New Kingdom (Eighteenth – Twentieth Dynasties of Ancient Egypt).  The valley contains at least 63 tombs …

 

W is for the “Wondrous Things”: that Carter and Carnarvon saw illuminated through the hole they had bored to see into the tomb.

 

Gilded Wooden and Ivory
Pen Case in the form of a
column inlaid with glass

W is for items related to Writing that were found in the tomb.  The gilded wooden and ivory pen case, inlaid with glass, would have stored reed pens. 

Being able to write, and read, ensured the deceased access to the magical tests required to travel safely in the netherworld.

 

X is for x facts: 5,366 objects excavated, recorded, conserved and transported.

These exquisite precious items, imported woods, linen, leather, petals, leaves, and ore … all crammed into the entrance passageway and the four chambers known as the Antechamber, Burial Chamber, Treasure, and Annex. 

 

Y is for years – five of them when Carter searched for the tomb, ‘unravelling’ the rubble over the site – every item found was photographed in situ and recorded; a further three years was spent similarly photographing, recording every item from each part of the tomb. 

 

Tutankhamun ready for hunting -
see boomerangs in background
(from LA exhibition 2019)

Y is for being so young – he needed the assistance of experienced courtiers, many of whom had served his father and even his grandfather – to rule for his short tenure.


He was buried with a solid gold coffin, face mask, thrones, archery bows, trumpets, a lotus chalice, two Imuit fetishes, gold toe stalls, furniture, food, wine, sandals, and fresh linen underwear ... and more ... 

 

Z is for Zahi Hawass – who is the world’s foremost Egyptologist.  He has been and continues to be instrumental in all things about Tutankhamun and his family … including this spectacular exhibition that I saw in early 2020:

The Golden Mask - did not travel
out of Egypt for this exhibition


Saatchi Gallery's exhibition site in London early 2020 - there are some beautiful photos here ... worth having a look at - the 'Wooden Guardian statue of the KA of the King'; the Gilded Wooden "Ostrich Hunt" Fan; photos of the tomb as it appeared at various stages; treasures, and faience ... 


Hilary Melton-Butcher

Positive Letters Inspirational Stories



44 comments:

Botanist said...

F is for Fascinating collection of information, Hilary. Thanks.

Yamini MacLean said...

Hari OM
A is for amazing coverage by H for Hilary!!! YAM xx

Elephant's Child said...

B is for a Brilliant post which I will Visit and Revisit Time and time Again.
And Huge thanks for the Link which I Will Explore later.

Janie Junebug said...

Thank you for all the information along with the photos. I always learn from you. I understand Highclere Castle has some Egyptian artifacts tucked away.

Love,
Janie

Chatty Crone said...

Oh my goodness - that was a terrific history program!

John Holton said...

You could have used this for the A to Z Challenge.... no reason you can't...

Inger said...

You organized the information so well here. It must have involved a lot of work putting it all together. I think it's more informative than that book I got when I visited the exhibit back in 1978, I think it was. With my mum, who came to visit me in Los Angeles. I remember it well, but not sure of the year.

Hels said...

The jewellery is exotic and very handsome, even to modern eyes. Lapis lazuli is easily recognised because it is so expensive and gorgeous, but you are right re some of the other elements being unrecognisable.

Hilary Melton-Butcher said...

@ Ian … glad you enjoyed it …

@ Yam – many thanks … it’s been interesting …

@ EC – great … love reading that: thank you … I may add a few other links as the day goes on …

@ Janie – yes there is an exhibition on Egyptology at Highclere. I’m happy you enjoyed the post …

@ Sandie – that’s great … thank you …

@ John – yes I could have done … but I think now I’ve done my bit on Tut – still it has opened my eyes a little on that part of history …

@ Inger – the exhibition catalogue for the Saatchi exhibition is very good – lots of pictures, as well as fairly comprehensive articles on different aspects …

The catalogues of today offer more – as we’ve learnt so much, and been able to draw further light on various exhibits …

@ Hels – the jewellery is quite stunning – particularly to modern eyes … it’s so extraordinary – you are right. Yes lapis lazuli is always easy to recognise … while the other semi-precious stones are fascinating to see how they were used and which ones they could find.

Thanks so much – just happy the post matches up – all the best and stay safe - Hilary

Dan said...

What an amazing collection of facts. I enjoyed this very much.

David M. Gascoigne, said...

Very cleverly done, Hilary. It must have taken a bit of brain scratching to come up with suitable material for some of the letters. I bet you were spitting when you were unable ti position your pictures in your normal creative fashion. The King Tut exhibit has perhaps captured the imagination of a worldwide public more than any other event - ever. It has universal appeal and excitement, still coloured by a little mystery, and I am very glad that you brought it to us once again, especially in the entertaining fashion you chose to do so. Bravo, Hilary!

Alex J. Cavanaugh said...

That is a lot of bows and cases, even for a king.

Keith's Ramblings said...

Hilary, this is a really interesting piece. Suddenly, thanks to you I know so much more about this fascinating subject, thank you.

Jacqui Murray said...

What a great way to read about King Tut. Snippets, morsels. Are you ready for April's A to Z?

Jz said...

So gorgeous!
(Altho' what I'm really a sucker for are the wall paintings...)
Great overview, thank you! :-)

Jo-Anne's Ramblings said...

wow, what a bloody awesome post, I really liked this

D.G. Kaye said...

Wow, what fascinating tidbits of history in this mini history course Hilary. Lots of work put into this piece, well done. Now, just don't ask me to memorize lol. Hugs :) xx

Unknown said...

Hi, Hilary - This is such an incredible exhibit. Your A - Z Style is very creative and informative. Thank you for sharing this with us. Fascinating!

Sue Bursztynski said...

It sounds like a wonderful exhibition! Well done for the A to Z!

One of our students, an Egyptian boy, had a great grandfather who had been on the dig with Howard Carter - a chemist, he said. Apparently there were photos of Carter and his great grandad that his family had tried to get back from the museum in Cairo, but he spent all his visits to my library hunting through books about ancient Egypt raptor see if any of the photos had been reproduced there. He finally found one!

Hilary Melton-Butcher said...

@ Dan – thanks, it was interesting putting it together …

@ David – thank you … I seem to find it relatively easy now-a-days … letters and ideas can be manipulated … and obviously I’ll put the main subjects in … but can ‘forget’ the occasional thing that perhaps should go in.
Yes – I am spitting at Blogger … but decided for this length of post I’d just leave them in the centre … if I get things done … I’ll try to find out how to get my pics as I want them for the next few posts – til I’ve worked out the how.

King Tut – has captured the world hasn’t he … and via Howard Carter’s persistent excavations … must have taxed them all – Lord Carnarvon had given up and gone home!

I must admit I knew very little … so actually was glad to put the effort in for this post – I’ve learnt lots … thank you for the thumbs up …

@ Alex – yes – well everything he could possibly want in the Afterlife was included in the tomb … so you get food boxes – I didn’t put that in to the post … models of people to till the fields etc … and as you say lots of bows and arrows to hunt with …

@ Keith – thank you – appreciate that you enjoyed it so much … it’s been fun to write up.

@ Jacqui - many thanks … I’ve found if I’m overwhelmed by a subject this is a good way of giving an overview –without falling on my sword!

I’ve gone off the A-Z … as it’s changed and to me isn’t as friendly as it was – but I hope satisfies others and brings new people into the ‘group of bloggers’ – usually IWSG bloggers …

@ Jz – wonderful thank you … would you like to have your walls at home lined with Egyptian stories … as here? The decoration of the whole is amazing …

@ Jo-Anne – many thanks …

@ Debby – it’s very mini … but I seem to have captured the essence of life in those times … it’s way too little … but hopefully people will look further. I’ve lots of other snippets that didn’t get into the post – I forget too easily … the Dynasties of the Egyptians gave us a wonderful civilisation … which we’re still learning about – so I won’t test you!

@ Unknown – it seems like I know you … but wish you’d left a name – so I could identify you … but it’s lovely to see you and thanks for the thumbs up.

@ Sue – it was an incredible exhibition …

How fascinating to learn about your Egyptian student … and the fact that he had heard vague memories of his great grandfather helping Carter at the dig – using chemistry to ascertain various items. I hope at some stage in the future – perhaps once we can travel again and once Tutankhamun’s relics are all settled in the new museum in Giza - he can travel there and check up on the records.

Thanks so much to you all for visiting … take care and stay safe - Hilary

Joanne said...

This needs to be published - excellent A to Z. I would think it would excite kids to learn more and maybe dream of archaeological digs. Superb overview.

Sandra Cox said...

Oh my gosh, Hil. You put so much work into this post. It's fascinating. I've always associated boomerangs with Australia. Who'd a thought.
Stay safe. Be healthy.

Annalisa Crawford said...

A fantastic summary, I want to see this exhibition even more now!

bazza said...

Really interesting. It seems that their civilisation lasted much longer than anything since. Although their lifestyle seems to be a million miles from what we have today it appeared to be very sophisticated.
CLICK HERE for Bazza’s cruelly clownish Blog ‘To Discover Ice’

Joylene Nowell Butler said...

I've always dreamed of going to Egypt, but I think what I really want is to be part of an Agatha Christie novel where I get to sit next to Hercule Poirot. Your photos are excellent. Thank you for sharing.

Anabel Marsh said...

Clever and interesting!

Liz A. said...

Sounds like it was quite the exhibition.

Denise Covey said...

A = Amazing Hilary! How succinctly you went about this, breaking it down into easy to follow alphabet letters. Fascinating reading!

Hilary Melton-Butcher said...

@ Joanne – it’s published here … but it’s a very simple overview – perhaps it’s the Egyptian period best known to the public … so I’m pleased if this gives a little more knowledge about their lifestyle … I’ve learnt an awful lot …

@ Sandra – I just realised I couldn’t really write sensibly about Tutankhamun … these points made it easier to set out and give that overview … so thank you.

Re boomerangs – they must have been around … how or why I’ve no idea – and haven’t looked – but see the Wiki page has more information.

@ Annalisa – thank you … sadly the exhibition has left London – but once we can travel – I’m sure Egypt would be delighted to see you … with a visit to the Giza museum?!

@ Bazza – thank you so much … yes their civilisation was quite extraordinary and I hadn’t realised quite how comprehensive it was … or as you say much more sophisticated that ours today … considering the tools and knowledge they had compared to the things we know today …

@ Joylene – it’s funny I’ve never particularly wanted to go to Egypt – though friends of mine have been … which still didn’t entice me. But I really thought I should visit this exhibition … and I’m so pleased I did - I thoroughly enjoyed seeing everything – but more importantly I’ve enjoyed writing up these posts: learnt so much …

@ Anabel – thank you … I’m glad you enjoyed it …

@ Liz – it was extraordinary …

@ Denise – thank you … I couldn’t cover everything, but appreciate you thinking that I seem to have covered the main aspects … hopefully tempting everyone to look further …

Appreciate all your comments and thoughts … I’ve enjoyed the whole experience … added to by writing up these posts. Take care and stay safe - Hilary

mail4rosey said...

That's awesome that you got to see such a great exhibit this year. A is for the amazing write-up you've done here! B is for you're the best!! I love to read what you write.

Elizabeth Spann Craig said...

Loved learning more about Tutankhamun and ancient Egypt. For some reason, I didn't associate that culture with bows and arrows at all! So cool to read that.

Sandra Cox said...

That's a pretty elegant bow case isn't it?
Take special care.

Debbie D. said...

Fascinating history and artifacts! Thanks for sharing this, Hilary. Sorry, I haven't been around for a while, but hope to get caught up, soon.

Pradeep Nair said...

This is a very good way of compiling it all. Very informative.

Hilary Melton-Butcher said...

@ Rosey – great to see you here … it was an amazing exhibition and I’ve learnt lots writing up the A-Z … only B for basics – but still a good start to appreciating the Egyptian way of life …

@ Elizabeth – thank you … glad you enjoyed this … I know it was fascinating to learn that the child king … played as a child would.

@ Sandra – thank you … the workmanship of everything was quite extraordinary … for those living over 3,000 years ago – very sophisticated …

@ Debbie – thanks … I saw you’d come back via your post … I’ve had a few hiccups here … so will be over shortly. Great to see you and glad you enjoyed the post …

@ Pradeep – so pleased to see you here … thank you – it was the easiest way of setting out some of the things that I thought were interesting …

Thanks so much for commenting everyone – lovely to see you … take care and stay safe - Hilary

Pam Lazos said...

L is for lovely post, Hilary. So many fascinating topics to follow up on. I can't wait until the pandemic is over and we can all travel again!

Marja said...

wow very interesting I am especially in awe of the sophistication of these ancient Egyptians Look at that bracelet and that chair and the golden mask. Unbelievable. Thanks for this alphabet of insight into another world

Hilary Melton-Butcher said...

@ Pam - thanks so much ... I've enjoyed writing it up - and talking to friends around here about the exhibition; yes - when we can be let out again will be wonderful ... I'm steeling myself for another 6 months+ ... but I'm happy - have lots to do ... and blogging friends.

@ Marja - I so agree - their workmanship is extraordinary ... and they must have always been searching, testing and exploring ways ahead. I've been amazed - now I've written the post and had to think about it. The craftsmanship is just staggering ... inlaid glass, precious stones, ivory and different woods - it was just beautiful ...

Thanks so much for visiting and your comments - take care - Hilary

troutbirder said...

How fascinating! Wish I could've seen it. Many years ago when I took high school students from Minnesota to the British Museum I wanted to follow up on Shelley's Ozymandias. I wonder if Ramses still resides there?

Hilary Melton-Butcher said...

Hi Ray - good to see you ... it was a fascinating exhibition - I've just looked for Rameses II at the British Museum - yes it's still there ... and links with Ozymandias - see both in Wikipedia ...

https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Ozymandias

Thanks for the connections and for making me look ... I shall be reading more - that trip with the students has left its mark ... take care - Hilary

Lynda Dietz said...

I love anything to do with ancient history, and Egyptology has long been a favorite. I'm fascinated by the artistry of those craftsmen who created such beautiful jewelry and structures without modern machinery.

Thank you for (as always) the abundance of photos!

Hilary Melton-Butcher said...

Thanks Lynda - it's something I know little about - so my eyes have really been opened. The craftsmanship is quite extraordinary ... and yes - how did they make such superb precious items ... we no doubt will continue to wonder ... great to see you here ... take care - Hilary
PS - so pleased you like the photos ... I had lots!

DMS said...

Sounds and looks like a wonderful exhibit. Love the A-Z format and the info and pictures. I is for Impressed. :)
~Jess

Hilary Melton-Butcher said...

Thanks Jess - it was an amazing exhibition ... just beautiful with such creative workmanship and I loved the learning I gleaned ... lots more to learn about at some stage. Take care - Hilary