Tutankhamun and the Golden Age of the Pharaohs

The “Tutankhamun and the Golden Age of the Pharaohs” exhibition at the Dallas Museum of Art is worth seeing, even if the ticket price is higher than most art exhibitions and even if you know nothing about Tutankhamun or Egyptian art. It’s just a little sad that most of the objects in the exhibition were placed in the boy king’s tomb approximately 3,500 years ago to help him survive and protect him in the next life, but here they are, halfway across the world, for our viewing pleasure, raising funds for the Egyptian Museum in Cairo.

On a weekday night there was no problem in getting tickets, and entry to the exhibition occurs every half hour. I am sure weekends are crowded and tickets are not so readily available—to be safe you should pre-purchase tickets via the museum’s website if you are a member and through Ticketmaster if you are not a member. Going through the 11 rooms took approximately an hour and a half without listening to the audio program, but with reading every description and history of the objects that were provided. The rooms were dark and the objects lit with spotlights and music playing in the background, making you feel like you were exploring through the tomb room by room. I liked how large black and white photographs of the Valley of the Kings, the entrance to the tomb, and of Howard Carter and his team discovering the objects were dispersed throughout the galleries.

The first few rooms provided a little history as the objects in these rooms were from Tutankhamun’s predecessors’ tombs. His father, Akhenaten and his father’s wife, Nefertiti, were the rulers that worshiped only one god, the sun. Tutankhamun reestablished the worship of many gods during his short reign. One of his ancestor’s beautifully carved wooden sarcophagus is on display, being one of the larger pieces in the show. Most of the objects brought from Egypt for this exhibit are small, but they are all very detailed and beautiful. Looking at some of the photographs on the museum’s website, I thought they were larger but you can see them quite well and can walk completely around most of the objects.

“Tutankhamun and the Golden Age of the Pharaohs” continues through the holiday season and does not end until mid May in Dallas. I intend to go listen to one of my former art history professors give a lecture on Egyptian afterlife, go back in January and even pay the extra money for the audio tour, and finally to go see Dr. Zahi Hawass (Secretary General of Egypt’s Supreme Council of Antiquities) speak at McFarlin Auditorium at SMU in March. Dr. Hawass is the guy you see on most of the TV shows about Egypt (he usually wears a hat and jeans).

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