Well, not really. I met a few items from his tomb, though. And I don’t have any photos because we weren’t allowed to take photos in the exhibit, naturally. I was fascinated by the carving on the various objects. One figurine of a woman (it wasn’t a shawabi) had the most amazingly intricate braided hair; you could see each individual plait, and it was just exquisite. I was also very moved to see the nesting coffins of the two fetuses. Having lost my own children before they were born, I could imagine the pain that Tutankhamun and Ankhesenamun felt as they buried their hopes in those tiny coffins.
My favourite room, though, was the Akhenaten room. There was one of the colossal busts of Akhenaten. I looked to see if I could detect the faintest glimpse of a sense of humour, but it wasn’t there. All I saw was the face of a man who wax completely convinced of his superiority; he looked haughty, condescending. Of course, that’s just the bust and an artist’s interpretation of the great pharaoh. Maybe he did have a sense of humour. I wonder what life would have been like for Nefertiti and his children, living with a man who believed he was a god. Did they believe he was a god? Or was he just their papa?
I’ve wondered for a long time about Akhenaten. It’s a pity that his mummy was–almost certainly–desecrated and destroyed. Did he really have the bizarre physical features that are given him in the Amarna artwork? Or was it just an artistic convention popular at the time, something designed to separate the Amarna era from those that preceded it? Are Akhenaten and Tutankhamun father and son? What happened to Nefertiti after Akhenaten’s death?
And as I sat in the last room of the exhibition, waiting for the rest of my family to catch up with me, I wondered what Tutankhamun would say of all the furor excited by the very thought of him. What would he think of his physical remains being X-rayed and scanned and photographed so that people all over the world could see them? What would he think of the desecretion of his tomb and funerary equipment? What would he think to know that millennia later, people would travel and stand in line and pay to see the things that he left behind when he shuffled off his mortal coil?
Obviously there’s no way to know. I will confess to remembering Motel of the Mysteries and asking myself if any of our assumptions about life in ancient Egypt are as silly and as off the mark as the archaeologist solemnly donning the seat of a toilet to perform the ritual homage to the god that we worshiped in the tiny room of a long-decayed motel.
If you’d like to see some of the things I saw today, check out this link. And let me know what you think.
Oh, and here are some of the other lovely sights from today.
My Uncle Lee, who has a wicked funny sense of humour.
My Aunt Mary, who is very lovable.
Left to right, Aunt Mary, Izzybella, Mom, Joe, and Uncle Lee. I’m behind the camera.