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Tutankhamun in London review and Amarna-related comments

 
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karnsculpture
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PostPosted: Sat Nov 02, 2019 1:21 pm    Post subject: Tutankhamun in London review and Amarna-related comments Reply with quote

Got in early to see the Tutankhamun exhibition in London. Posting here because some of the content is relevant to discussions in this thread, but first some overall impressions.

SPOILER WARNING - do not read any further if you want to be surprised!

The good news is that most of the pieces have not been shown in London for a very long time. I assumed that there would be a lot of the same things as the exhibition at the o2 about 8 years ago but no, I was pleasantly surprised. That earlier exhibition had sections on Tut's family so included material relating to Yuya and Thuya, Akhenaten and so on. There was none of that here - this was purely based on items from his tomb with one notable exception.

In terms of presentation the gallery have done a fantastic job. I went when it was not busy, very early this morning, and had no problems seeing everything from any angle I wanted. Photography is permitted without flash so I took a lot of shots. Excellent lighting throughout to really highlight the beauty of the pieces. Nothing is crowded together and most items can be seen 360 degrees which is fantastic. It is always more interesting to me to see what you don't get to often in books or online.

The exhibition starts with items like Tut's childhood chair - really tiny - would only have been suitable for a toddler really, he probably outgrew it by the time he was 5 years old - this item is not inscribed as far as I can tell, so is a good example of the little chairs you see in depictions from Amarna in family scenes. The foot rest that comes with it is also on display. In every other respect apart from size it is a miniature throne. Next come model boats, a bed, headrests and so on - personal items but also some apparently related to the Opening Of The Mouth ceremony.

The next section relates to shabtis and the more mythical representations of the king, plus gods. Very noticeable that some of the shabtis appear to represent females and the faces are not like the many other representations of Tut present. They do not however in the main look particularly like anyone, so you can't leap to the conclusion that they represent Neferneferuaten for example. The one exception is the white canopic stopper with red lips which I think does have the face of Nefertiti/Neferneferuaten.

Jewels and amulets are next, several are the exception in that they are mounted in cases against the walls so you can't see the reverse of them. Interestingly one of the "moon" pectorals discussed elsewhere is present, but it is described as having a "silver sun disc" - a bit innacurate I think when it looks like a moon and even has a crescent. The jewels are simply exquisite. Most of the items in the exhibition are small, and you can really appreciate the skill of the craftsmen or women that made them - incredible detail. The small gold Amenhotep III pendant is displayed and was being ignored by most of the visitors but is really worth a close look.

I am skipping over a lot but there were hundreds of items, no filler at all, a real treat to see many things that I haven't before. One of the few larger items is one of the guardian statues - the one with the Nemes headdress. It is a superb piece and very lifelike. There are also a few video presentations though I didn't watch them all as they were aimed at a general audience, and mostly cover the discovery and clearance of the tomb. The tomb walls are represented by large reproductions.

I was most fascinated by the small gold leaf statue box (statue famously missing, but you can see it's "holder" with the place the feet would been set into). The box has several scenes of Tut and Ankhensenamun together. What is fascinating is that in some of the poses she is supporting him as he stands. The queen's regalia from scene to scene is also interesting - you see a scull cap (or is she bald, just with a diadem?), one with a wig and hathor crown, and some show her with large ear-rings like Kiya. The only type of queenly crown or wig not shown is the unique one worn by Nefertiti.

The final part of the exhibition is stunning - one of the usurped statues of Tut that was presumably from his mortuary temple. It is on a colossal scale and has a lot of pigment intact - Tut has reddish-brown faded skin but you can see that his entire outfit was fairly colourful as well, the Nemes striped. The cartouches are of Horemheb but clearly over-carved and the face is very recognisable as Tut's - very similar to the famous mummy mask which is sadly not part of the exhibition. About that, some people complained that the mask was not on display. I put this down to a bit of confusion because the promotional material shows the head and shoulders of the gold coffinette. *I* know it's not the mummy mask but I think a lot of the general public will not recognise that. People made a fair point that the impression was given that they would see the mask.

After the exhibition there is the inevitable gift shop that is unsurprisingly expensive. £8 for the cheapest fridge magnet, £3,500 for a limited edition book. Lots of items were promoted as being made in Egypt - I hope it helps the economy there but they'll sell more with slightly reduced prices.

I put a few of my best photos on Instagram

https://www.instagram.com/rymerster/
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Ikon
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PostPosted: Mon Nov 04, 2019 10:34 am    Post subject: Reply with quote

Thanks for the review, I had read that the entrance price was too high for what was on show, but from what you say it does look worth it. Just have to decide if it will justify sitting on a train for about seven hours there and back Smile
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karnsculpture
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PostPosted: Mon Nov 04, 2019 11:02 am    Post subject: Reply with quote

If you are an Egyptology nerd like me it’s well worth going as there are a lot of what I’d consider uncommon pieces on display that are well presented. There are discount on tickets available if you can visit outside of peak hours, concessions for older people and so on. As I found with the Rolling Stones exhibition at the same gallery there may also be special offers (2 for 1 tickets) later on.
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karnsculpture
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PostPosted: Mon Nov 04, 2019 11:04 am    Post subject: Reply with quote

Just to add, if you plan to visit the British Museum and Petrie Museum plus a side trip to Foyles (near the BM) it’d be worth the journey.
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Ayrton
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PostPosted: Tue Nov 05, 2019 10:52 pm    Post subject: Reply with quote

Rumour has it the exhibition will come to Australia in a couple of years time. Hope so.
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PostPosted: Wed Nov 06, 2019 2:36 am    Post subject: Reply with quote

" Egyptian Dreams Forum Index -> Miscellaneous -> Tutankhamun in Sydney : Early 2021 - Australian Museum "
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PostPosted: Wed Nov 06, 2019 2:41 am    Post subject: Reply with quote

" Egyptian Dreams Forum Index -> Miscellaneous -> Tutankhamun in London : 2 November 2019 - 3 May 2020 "
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