This 10-foot statue of King Tutankhamun can be seen in the Egyptian pharaohs exhibition at the Pacific Science Center. It was found at the entrance of a funerary temple of two of his loyal officials. Photo by McKenna Princing
There’s something incredibly attractive about the history of Egypt. The monumental projects and advances they were able to pull off, combined with the mysticism surrounding the pharaohs, offer a lingering curiosity unmatched by any other historical account.
King Tutankhamun specifically had captured the world’s attention. The level of detail the boy king placed on every ritual to guarantee his eternal life was incomparable to any other pharaoh, witnessed by the meticulous, intricate tomb he left behind.
Through objects found in King Tut’s tomb and art depicting the ancient royal family, I could see the making of history for myself. Every statue was three-dimensional; I could see and imagine every notch carved into the stone, every hieroglyph whose meaning remained in the dark for centuries after they were written.
Statues created in the Middle Kingdom, a transitional period that laid the groundwork for a unified Egypt centuries before King Tut had been born, lined the walls of the exhibition in the first room. Even then, there was an attention to detail that puts modern artists to shame.
If anyone was under the impression that ancient Egyptians lived primitively, the exhibition proved them wrong immediately. On display was an ancient toilet seat carved in stone and aesthetically very similar to toilet seats used in the West. Not only royal families used these seats, but so did everyone else at the time. The display was one of the few objects that told me a little bit about ancient Egyptians’ everyday life at an exhibition otherwise focused on pharaohs.
But the greatest display is located in the middle rooms of the exhibition: a 10-foot statue of King Tut, which had been found in the funerary temple of two of his closest and most loyal officials. The all-too-real body curves, the facial features, and the accurate painting all contributed to a piece of art that seemed to come alive the minute I laid my eyes on it. I saw this statue and I instantly saw King Tut in all his glory and all his neuroticism that took every precaution to deliver him.
Following the statue, the rest of the exhibition paled in comparison. The King Tut replica was followed by more stone carvings and some of the gold found in King Tut’s tomb. Other objects found in the tomb — such as a bed suspected to have been used by King Tut — were impressive, but nothing had that remarkable level of detail that the statue had. As naive as it may have been, I had expected from the brochure — which pictured King Tut’s coffin on the front — to see the trademark coffin itself. Alas, some things are too precious to be moved.
I enjoyed the exhibition, but for someone who didn’t have much background knowledge about pharaohs coming into it, the $32.50 ticket was too large a sum to be worth it. King Tut was not the focus of this exhibition. The focus was ancient Egypt itself — its incredible culture and the pharaohs who made it happen. Those interested in all the pharaohs will find more value in the exhibition.
The exhibition runs through Jan. 6 at the Pacific Science Center.
The verdict: Pay if you’ve done your research on ancient Egypt, but those who are solely King Tut fans will be a bit disappointed.
Reach Development Editor Hayat Norimine at email@example.com. Twitter: @HayatNorimine
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