Thursday, October 8, 2009

King Tut at the San Francisco De Young

Last night I went to see the new King Tut exhibit at the De Young museum with Stanford Alumni. Given my experience with past events, I was expecting 100 people - maybe. Imagine my surprise when we walked into a crowed atrium of over 900 alumni, family, and friends! As a kid I was obsessed with mummies for a while, so as soon as I heard about the Stanford event I booked tickets (it actually sold out in one day according to the woman working the door - good thing I had it on my calendar).

The exhibit was good, although I will say that a large portion of it is dedicated to people who may or may not have actually been related to King Tut - "this is the urn belonging to a woman who MAY have been King Tut's great grandmother" (that kind of thing). There appears to be some doubt as to who King Tut's parents were. King Tut himself doesn't travel, but the canopic jar that once held his mummied liver did (see photo below). This jar was about a foot tall, the scale is hard to see from the image. By the way, when King Tut was alive, the pyramids at Giza were already over 1000 years old.
My favorite caption was for the "magical brick of Tuthmosis IV" 1400 - 1390 BC. A magical brick was placed in the north, south, east, and west walls of his burial chamber and warned of the dangers of entering. The translated caption on the north brick reads: "You who come to pull [my hair], I will not allow you to pull [my hair]." I thought that this was a rather polite way to issue a deadly warning.

P.S. An exhibit on Cartier Jewelry is coming to the Legion of Honor in December. I am definitely going to that...


  1. I was King Tut (or his sarcophagus, rather) for Halloween when I was 10. My mom sewed a gold tunic and a cleverly designed headdress and wings. My dad made the whip and cane from an cutting an old golden curtain rod and putting in big coloured electrical wires. I contributed by drawing on the patterns with Magic Markers. There were still stains on the kitchen table (it bled through) until we re-finished the surface many years later.

    The costume was pretty sweet. I think it's still in my parents' basement, although it's definitely way too small...

    Hopefully I get to see the exhibit when my mom visits next weekend!

  2. I want to see photos Emma! That costume sounds awesome.


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