Saturday, September 1, 2012

Tutankhamen in Paris

There was a very interesting exhibit in Paris when I was there. The exhibit is called "Tutankhamen, his Tomb and his Treasures". I only found out about the exhibit when I saw posters for it in the Paris Metro.

The exhibit consists of hundreds of very accurate reproductions of the objects in his tomb. Each room of the tomb is reconstructed at its full size, with all of the objects in the room placed as they were when the tomb was first opened by Howard Carter. Visitors can actually see how small the tomb is and how all of the objects were crammed into such a small space (see the photo of the antechamber to the left).

The reproductions are quite good and fully detailed. Those who have never been to Egypt can now see the large and heavy objects that do not travel to exhibits in foreign countries, such as Tutankhamen's sarcophagus and canopic chest.

The sponsors of the show (Wulf Kohl and Paul Heinen) began prototyping the reproductions in 2002. By 2004 enough of the reproductions had been finished, and were of high enough quality, that the sponsors decided to proceed with a full, life-sized reproduction of the entire tomb.

The artists who did the work are the finest artists available in Egypt. They included painters, sculptors and specialists in gilding, casting and wood working. Egyptologists (Dr. Martin von Falck and Dr. Wolfgang Wettengel) were also engaged to make sure that the exhibit was as accurate an informative as possible.

The show is in the Paris Exposition Center and runs until the first week of September. I enjoyed the exhibit a great deal and thought that it was well worth the fairly long trip by Metro to get to the Exposition Center.

Photos: Top Left - the Antechamber of the tomb showing the royal chariots; Middle Right - the king's sarcophagus; Lower Left - the canopic chest which contained the king's internal organs.

All Photos copyright John Freed.

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