May 27, 2019
Exhibition of artifacts from the tomb of Pharaoh Tutankhamun. I bought tickets for us months ago at home. This will be the last time the artifacts leave Eygpt and some of them have never been out of the country before.
Tutankhamun was a Pharoh of the 18th dynasty and ruled from 1332-1323 BC. Tutankhamun means the “Living Image of Aten”. As he is commonly known King Tut ascended the throne when he was 9 years old.
The tomb was discovered in 1922 by Howard Carter during an expedition funded by Lord Carnarvon.
Furniture for a boy king. The pharaoh was the son of Re and the earthly form of Horus. He was a semi-divine being, the mediator between the gods and the people. Tutankhamun ruled during a stretch when Egypt enjoyed its status as the most powerful country in the world.
Upon his death the Priests prepared his passage through the Netherworld by packing his tomb with everything he would need on the journey and, later, in the afterlife. The afterlife was just like Egypt, only even more perfect. To get there, the deceased first had to pass through the 12 gates of the Netherworld, a place swirling with danger and forces that could be controlled only by magic. To enter, the deceased had to know and speak the names of the guardians of the gates.
These containers were filled with meat for King Tut’s journey. Each person’s passage through the Netherworld was unique with different spells determining his or her passageway.
This miniature ivory game board shows Tutankhamun and Ankhesenamun, his consort and half sister, playing Senet. Tutankhamun lived a luxurious life. The contents of his tomb were a link to the world he was leaving. There were more than 50 boxes and chests with filled with beautiful items.
The wooden Traveling Chest was filled with glass vessels, incense, ostrich feathers, and other ritual objects for the Opening of the Mouth ceremony.
The Calcite Vase on the stand, belonged to Tutankhamun and Ankhesenamun. Although the two shared a father, Ankhesenamun’s mother was Queen Nefertiti, renowned for her beauty. The spouted Faience Heset Vase with Domed Lid is shaped like the hieroglyph heset,”to praise”. This vase is the type used during the Opening of the Mouth ceremony.
The hieroglyphs carved in ivory and ebony on the lid of this case spell out Tutankhamun’s birth name. It is likely that Tutankhamun could read and write , but literacy was restricted to an educated few.
Every evening, Re’s solar boat fell below the horizon and the land was blanketed in 12 hours of darkness. The sun god spent the night crossing the Netherworld to rejoin the solar boat on its eastern shore. Tutankhamun accompanied Re through the Netherworld. To help light his way, his tomb was equipped with torches that would illuminate the darkness and ward off evil.
Book of the Dead- I am he who catches the sand to choke the hidden place, I drive off him who would oppose himself to the torch of the necropolis.
The word for spell meant “utterance”. The written word carried authority but to make spells effective, words had to be spoken out loud. Magic was as essential to Egyptian life as air, water or food.
This gilded wooden and Ivory pen case inlaid with glass, would have been used by Tutankhamun to store reed pens.
This gilded wooden bed is covered with gold leaf. Carved on the footboard are Bes, guardian of newborns, and the hippopotamus-faced Taweret, who both provide protection.
There were 53 boats found in the tomb. Tutankhamun travelled throughout Egypt on a boat similar to this model. Lacking a mast, sail and rigging, it was probably powered by rowers.
The Ba and the Ka- The soul took the form of the ba, depicted as a bird with the deceased’s head. By day, it could leave the tomb to fly, invisible, to the land of the living. Each night, it returned to be reunited with the mummy where the ka resided, his life force, his spirit and very essence.
The inscription on the stick of this fan, says that Tutankhamun hunted ostriches in the desert near Heliopolis and he provided the feathers for this fan.
Book of the Dead- Come then and step through this gate of the Two Maats, for you know us.
This fan originally held 30 ostrich feathers that could create a gentle breeze. Maat, daughter of Re and goddess of universal order, wore a headdress with an ostrich feather, which is also the hieroglyph for maat, or universal order.
On this fan the king is depicted at a royal ostrich hunt in the eastern desert. Tutankhamun stands triumphantly atop a chariot pulled by running horses, his bow aimed expertly at an ostrich, he is the tamer of nature. It is the King’s responsibility to defeat the evil forces of nature.
To defeat and control the supernatural demons and evil forces of the Netherworld, the tomb had to have an arsenal of weapons. Maces, such as the one on the left were time honored weapon’s by the Kings of Egypt.
About 30 compound bows, 100’s of arrows and shields were all supplied to allow Tutankhamun to pass through the Netherworld.
The panther symbolized the Netherworld and the night sky. Tutankhamun is wearing the tall crown of Upper Egypt. The pharaoh was king of the whole country, unifying the Upper and Lower Egypt. He was known as the “Lord of the Two Lands”.
Here is a gilded wooden figure of Tutankhamun wearing the tall crown of Lower Egypt. In this depiction Tutankhamun is Horus, son of Osiris, skillfully balancing on a Skiff throwing a harpoon at a Hippopotamus that represented the evil Seth, who was too dangerous to show.
This gilded wooden statue of the King wearing the White Crown shows Tutankhamun confidently making his way through the Netherworld.
The Book of the Dead was a collection of almost 200 spells gathered over centuries from the earliest days of Egyptian civilization. It was called the “book for coming forth by day” because it provided the deceased with a roadmap through the Netherworld to the afterlife.
Also in the tomb were many protector gods, such as these statues. There were also workers to provide food and tools in the afterlife.
These two were Herwer (father of Horus) on the left and Duamutef (a son of Horus).
This is a statue of Ptah. The three hieroglyphs on his scepter are: ankh (life), the djed pillar (stability), and the ‘Was’ sign (sovereignty).
Osiris Story- Orisis the son of Geb (earth) and Nut (Sky), became the first pharaoh of Egypt. His jealous brother Seth murdered him, cut up his body, scattered the pieces throughout the land and declared himself king. Osiris’s sister Isis, who was also his wife, gathered Osiris’s body. She and her sister bandaged the pieces together, Isis used magic to restore the dead king to life. When Osiris’s son, Horus fought against Seth, Osiris remained as ruler of the Netherworld and Horus became king of earth. Each pharaoh became the earthly incarnation of Horus.
The protection against supernatural forces provided by amulet and magic spells, and the support and intervention of the gods, has allowed Tutankhamun to pass safely through the Netherworld. Before he can finally leave it behind, his ka and ba must be successfully reunited. Only then can Tutankhamun evade death and be reborn in the afterlife. This photo is of the guardian statue of the Ka of the King wearing the Nemes headcloth.
Below is a gold inlaid Canopic Coffinette of Tutankhamun. The king’s viscera were protected by the four sons of Horus, each paired with a canopic goddess. Imseti and Isis guarded the liver. If you look closely at the coffenette you can see hieroglyphs on the interior.
Chests of ritual and symbolic jewelry also were found in the tomb. You can see the prevalence of scarab’s and birds.
The sun god took different forms, a man, a falcon, a ram, a man with the head of a falcon or ram. At dawn, he took the form of a scarab beetle. Every evening at dusk, scarab beetles disappear underground only to reappear at daybreak pushing a large ball of dung. In a similar gesture, each morning the scarab god Re-Khepri reappears rolling the solar disc of the sun over the horizon.
The carved mummy wrappings and bands on the figure below and the lion head and feet on the bed all provide protection from supernatural forces.
This is a large Flail and Copper Crook of Tutankhamun inlaid with gold, glass and Carnelian.
Tutankhamun’s wishing cup in the form of an open Lotus and two buds or Heh, god of eternity, on each handle, the wishing cup is a powerful symbol of rebirth and eternal life.
Here is a layout of the tomb, front left is the Treasury, behind it to the right is the Burial Chamber, rear left is the Antechamber, right rear is the annex with the entrance to the left.
Gilded wooden statue shrine with scenes of Tutankhamun and Ankhesenamun.
As Carter and Carnarvon first entered the antechamber, their torch revealed an Aladdin’s Cave of gold and alabaster treasures arranged chaotically against the walls.
The light danced across the tall guardian statues, ornate couches, alabaster vases, beautiful golden inlaid throne and “……a shrine-shaped box entirely cased with thick gold sheet, and on the gold, in delicate low relief there were a series of little panels, depicting in delightfully naive fashion, a number of episodes in the daily life of king and queen.
Carter oversaw the removal, recording and packing of the 5,398 objects from the tomb and their transportation to Cairo’s Egyptian Museum.
After having a 40 minute/25 Euro taxi ride to the Grande Hall Villette to see this incredible exhibit, we decided to risk the Paris Metro back to our hotel. With the help of an extremely kind man at the ticket counter, we managed to make it back without incident for 3.90 Euros and in 15 minutes.
2 thoughts on “I Know The Spell For Ascending To The Sky”
What an amazing exhibit!!! Lucky you and Suzanne getting to see this. And smart you for getting tickets ahead of time. Quite the write up you did, too.
Thanks! Most of the verbiage was from the exhibit. I just tried to make it a coherent whole.