Tuesday, September 28, 2010

The Gold Mask of Tutankhamun and Its Significance

Art Museum Journal (Stan Parchin)

British archaeologist Howard Carter uncovered the Gold Mask of Tutankhamun (ca. 1332-1323 B.C.) in 1925. The Metropolitan Museum of Art's Harry Burton recorded the spectacular find in crisp black-and-white photographs, each carefully taken inside the Burial Chamber of the adolescent king's four-room tomb. Developed from fragile glass negatives, Burton's pictures have since etched an indelible impression of ancient Egyptian royalty into the popular imagination. He masterfully captured the mask centuries after Tutankhamun's funeral, a ceremony that occurred more than 10 years following the religiously turbulent Amarna Period of Akhenaten (r. 1353-1336 B.C.), the frail young ruler's iconoclastic father.

While Akhenaten professed singular devotion to the Aten or solar disk, the practice of age-old polytheistic rites persisted throughout the heretic's reign and thereafter.

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