Visiting King Tut at the Dallas Museum of Art

Yesterday I travelled with several of my Baylor colleagues to the Dallas Museum of Art’s King Tut exhibit. I was quite excited, given that I have never seen any truly ancient artifacts save for some Bronze and Iron Age pottery, and the little bit of what Duke had displayed of Eric Meyers’ many discoveries.
The exhibit was quite powerful for me. At the outset they bring about 30 people into a small room where they show a 90 second video introducing Tut. As the lights slowly come up, a curtain raises and in the distance one sees a grand statue of Tut lit from behind. It was a powerful image.
The exhibit began with over 150 artifacts of other seminal figures in Egypt leading up to Tut; among them, Akhenaten (Amenhotep IV, who was perhaps Tut’s father; Tut’s grandfather; Nefertiti, etc.). I particularly enjoyed seeing the various hieroglyphics and the care and near consistency with which they were written. One could certainly tell this was a quite artful process; very neat, clean, and beautiful. I must also say, briefly, that I found a Bes figurine on display, and I found Bes to be quite cute. Whatever that means.
What struck me most of all, however, was the fortuitous preservation of these pieces over 3200 years, many of them wood. I am sure there has been some retouching/preserving, but the utter beauty of these pieces was remarkable. If one got close enough you could almost see the brush strokes on the painted pieces. I found myself just imagining those who discovered the tomb . . . finding objects which had been sitting in the exact same place for nearly 3200 years. And now these items were only a few inches away from me. Incredible. The story of their discover–perhaps well known–also stood out to me. Apparently a worker delivered a large drum of water to the excavation site, and upon setting it down and turning it into the ground to give it stability, he rammed up against stone. Digging revealed a staircase that led down to Tut’s tomb. That, to me, was amazing.
I suggest anyone who can attend the exhibit do so; it is in its final weeks. Do not miss this opportunity.
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