Thoughts on King Tut…

So, I FINALLY caught the King Tut exhibit and the gorgeous De Young Museum this week before it leaves San Francisco and I’m so glad that I did!

Stand out exhibition items for me were of course the jewelry, some furniture, and some of  the more whimsical items in the collection.

Howard Carter, an English Egyptologist, discovered Tut’s tomb in 1922.  He found this sealed door that led to the tomb and had the foresight to take this photo, marked with royal hieroglyphics before entering.  NEAT!

Photograph by Ferne Arfin

The tombs of Egyptian Royalty contained both items for their use in the afterlife, as well as items that they actually used in life on earth.  This adorable child’s chair was likely King Tut’s as a little one.   It is a wonderful chair, with inlaid ebony and ivory stripes, curved seat, claw chair legs, and a foot rest.  The humanity of the chair is hard to capture in the photograph.  Truly, I can see this chair for a modern-day child.  I think it would bring as much joy now as it must have then.

I really enjoyed the more whimsical pieces out of wood and gypso, like this carving of a cow.  Cattle were important to the Egyptians and I think they were placed in the tomb as protection for the king.  There was another cow carving next to this one (that I can’t find a photo of ) that was spotted with a sweet, sweet face.  I’m struck by how similar these pieces are to folk art that I love and collect.  Wonderful carvings.  Photographer unknown.

Now, on to the JEWELRY!!!   Uh, hello awesome scarab beetle bracelet!  The discovery of King Tut’s tomb in the 20’s was so earth shattering that it inspired and influenced the art deco period and I think this piece is a great example of that inspiration.  The colors are AMAZING and so Spring 2010…don’t you think?  Photographer unknown.

This piece was INCREDIBLE!  So much detail in the hieroglyphics, gems, and carvings.  The scarab beetle piece in the middle is made of glass that scientists have deduced was not man-made.  They believe it comes from the Sahara Desert from sand that was melted…possibly from an asteroid or other space matter landing in a fiery strike.  WOW!  The hieroglyphic eye is the “Eye of Ra” or “Eye of Horus” an ancient Egyptian symbol of protection and royal power from deities.  Photographer unknown.

Ironically, I treasure my Jennifer Meyer “Lucky Charm” Necklace that features items that are considered “lucky”.  This piece spoke to me because of the number 13, the elephant, horseshoe, and four-leaf clover engravings.  It also has an “Eye of Ra” figure engraved on it and now I respect that symbol so much more and oddly feel closer to Tut!

© Andreas F. Voegelin, Antikenmuseum Basel and Sammlung Ludwig

This piece is just so cool, and super chic.  I believe that when they found Tut in his burial chamber he was layered within several coffins and many pieces of jewelry and other adornments were found on him.  This was one of the pieces.  It is a falcon amulet.  GORGEOUS!

Of course, no visit to the De Young Museum is complete without a trip to the rooftop viewing tower.  The architecture of the museum and the lookout are as much stars of the museum as the wonderful exhibits.  It was raining during my visit and so the lighting and views were extraordinary.  Here, you can see the gorgeous view of the Golden Gate Park, Ocean, and looking toward Sea Cliff.

Finally, the glimpse of the rainbow from the De Young Museum Lookout.  It seemed an appropriate end to the day viewing the treasures of Tut’s Golden Age!

Happy Weekend!



Filed under Cultural Icons, Educational tidbits

3 responses to “Thoughts on King Tut…

  1. Kari, I would have so joined you! What a cultural treat! I am so glad you had a chance to see the exhibit. The b/w photo of the sealed door is fantastic (I don’t even know if I would have had the mindset to bring out the camera at that moment). Thank you for sharing. I always learn something new from you. And BTW you look beatiful in the pic! Happy new week, Mon

    • Monika, Thank you for your lovely comment. I do LOVE that photo of the sealed vault. It really captures the anticipation he must have felt (I think!). It was a great day, there is also a WONDERFUL exhibit on Amish quilts that we caught the same day. I’ll try to find some photos for a future post. Have a great week! K

  2. I love scarab jewelry and artifacts and enjoyed your post and images. Thanks!

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