Minister of Culture, Farouk Hosny, announced today that the Tutankhamun and the Golden Age of the Pharaohs exhibition will travel to Melbourne, Australia at the beginning of April 2011.
Dr. Zahi Hawass, Secretary General of the Supreme Council of Antiquities added that this is the first time that the treasures of the golden king will be displayed in Melbourne. The exhibition contains 140 objects belonging to King Tut and his family, fifty of which were found by Howard Carter during his excavation of the boy king’s tomb. Tutankhaumn’s tomb was uncovered on November 4, 1922 and is so far the only royal tomb to be discovered intact.
Dr. Hawass said that the exhibition will leave New York City’s Discovery Center in January 2011 in order to travel to Australia. The Melbourne exhibition will contain some never before seen objects, including a statue of King Akhenaten. This statue is being added as a result of DNA analysis, which proved that Akehnaten was the father of Tutankhamun, and the son of Amenhotep III and Queen Tiye. This statue depicts Akhenaten in the Amarna style, with physical features of a man and a woman. Many scholars previously thought that these statues were a realistic depiction of the king and that he may have suffered from a disease, which caused him to exhibit severe physical deformities. However, after the CT scan and DNA analysis carried out by the Egyptian Mummy Project (EMP), it was determined that Akhenaten was a completely healthy individual. Dr. Hawass stated that the statuary of the king represented a religious concept of the Amarna age. During this period, the king was supposed to exhibit the qualities of the Aten, or sun disk, which was both male and female. Therefore, Dr. Hawass believes that the statues of Akhenaten are not realistic depictions of the pharaoh.
Australian visitors will also be able to view ground-breaking information on the family tree of Tutankhamun, thanks to the recent findings of the Tutankhamun Family Project. Tutankhamun and the Golden Age of the Pharaohs will travel to Australia after visiting many major cities in the USA, including; Chicago, Los Angeles, New York and Philadelphia. One million people are expected to visit the exhibit and the income from the show will go towards the construction of the new Grand Egyptian Museum in Cairo. Some of the unique artifacts that visitors will see include: a mannequin statue of the boy king, which would have been used in antiquity to hang ceremonial robes and jewelry; a beautiful golden dagger; a small coffinette used to house one of King Tutankhamun’s internal organs; and other statues of the king. Dr. Hawass believes that this exhibition will be one of the most important events in 2011.