Wednesday, January 23, 2008

Clarification re Tutankhamun in Vienna

I have corrected yesterday's post in which I reported, in error, that the exhibition Tutankhamun and the Golden Age of Pharaohs, which is currently in London, was moving to Vienna. In fact, the next stop for the Golden Age exhibition is Dallas, U.S. (for which details are online on the official exhibition website where pre-registration for Dallas is now available).

The exhbition that is due to open in Vienna is quite different. Thanks very much to an anonymous comment for pointing this out, and to Stan Parchin for confirming it with a contact of his at the Vienna Museum (who apparently thought my error laughable). So apologies to the Kunsthistorisches Museum for my mistake.

Full details of the exhibition in Vienna, Tutankhamun and the World of the Pharaohs, which has not been as well publicized as the Golden Age exhibition, can be found on the website of the Kunsthistorisches Museum. Here's an extract from the page:

The exhibition highlights treasures that are 2,500 to 4,600 years old and features more than 70 objects excavated from Tutankhamun’s tomb, including his golden sandals, which were created specifically for the afterlife and found on his feet when his mummy was unwrapped. Also included is one of the gold and precious-stone-inlaid canopic coffinettes that contained his mummified internal organs.

Other key objects in the exhibition from King Tutankhamun’s tomb are a colossal figure of Tutankhamun depicting the king as a young man, which originally may have stood at Tutankhamun’s mortuary temple, and a shabti of Tutankhamun. One of the largest of the shabti statues, and the only such figure found in the antechamber, the purpose of this shabti was to ensure that the king would do no forced labor in the afterlife.

The exhibition also contains 75 objects from other Valley of the Kings tombs, including the golden mask of Psusennes, the third king of the 21st dynasty of Egypt, who ruled between 1047 B.C. and 1001 B.C. Made of gold, which the ancient Egyptians considered the flesh of the gods, the royal headdress features a cobra and divine false beard, attesting to his royal and godly status.
Unfortunately, there is still no answer in all of this to Helen Strudwick's question about whether yesterday's report was correct to say that a golden sarcophagus belonging to Tutankhamun is part of the exhibition. However, it seems unlikely that the Vienna website would be silent on the subject if they did have such an item in their exhibition - instead, it seems more likely that the writer was referring to the canopic cofinette whose photograph appears on the Vienna exhibition's page, above. Anyone who attends the exhibition might let us know one way or another. Thanks.

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