Culture | History Tutankhamun The reconstruction of the Pharaoh's tomb in a spectacular exhibition in Zurich

Tutankhamun –
his tomb and its treasures

The Exhibition |
by Dr. Martin von Falck
(Scientific consultant to the exhibition)


Visitors to the Tutankhamun exhibition are treated to a unique experience: The tomb treasures at the moment of their discovery, a scene that – apart from Carter, Carnarvon and their team – only very few privileged guests to the archaeological site were allowed to see in the 1920s! To prepare exhibition visitors for this overwhelming impression, prior to entering the tomb they receive a multimedia introduction to the biography of Howard Carter, the history of Tutankhamun and Egyptian culture.

Walk-in burial chambers
The exhibition designers have the visitors slip directly into the role of the discoverer. All tomb chambers can be walked through. In a second section of the exhibition the most important finds are again presented in all their glory. Coffers and chests filled with treasures are opened for the visitors. The faithful reproductions of countless valuables, jewellery, amulets and golden figures reveal themselves to the beholder. All exhibits are artfully crafted replicas according to state of the art science methods, presented in a modern fashion and explained in detail. Interactive installations among the burial objects offer access to more extensive topics.

A unique experience
The entire, overwhelming abundance of the treasures is revealed to the exhibition visitors: The quartzite sarcophagus, which remained in the tomb, is a deceptively realistic reproduction as are the shrines, the originals of which can be seen in the Egyptian Museum. The ornately reproduced images of gods concealed in the shrines appear in their full-gilded glory; the gold jewellery of the mummy is close enough to touch and the chariots, which lay dismantled in the grave, now appears fully assembled in its entire beauty. The world famous mask, the original of which last travelled the world in the 1980s, can also be admired in the form of a perfect copy.

Every visitor will leave the exhibition with the feeling that they have seen something truly special as the three-dimensional reproduction of the discovery site and the exquisite collection of highlights from the treasury are unique in this form.

Tutankhamun in Zurich  |  Deutsch
Tutankhamun – his tomb and its treasures
The centrepiece of the exhibition are the accurate, full-size reproductions of the child king Tutankhamun's burial chambers exactly as they were discovered. Visitors to the tomb can assume the role of the archaeologist, seeing the burial chambers just as they were when Howard Carter uncovered them in 1922.

March 08. – June 29. 2008

Toni-Areal | Förrlibuckstr. 109 | 8005 Zurich – Switzerland Directions to the exhibition «Tutankhamun»

Further Information
(Information without guarantee)

The Discovery |
by Dr. Wolfgang Wettengel
(Scientific consultant to the exhibition)

When, on November 30, 1922, the London Times reported the «most sensational Egyptological discovery of the century», nobody had any idea of the incredible treasures that would be found in the royal tomb of the Pharaoh Tutankhamun, who had died at a very early age. In the opinion of some scientists and academics at the beginning of the 20th century, the «Valley of the Kings» seemed to have already been fully explored. The only person who still believed in a sensational find was Howard Carter. We owe the discovery of the tomb of Tutankhamun entirely to Carter's instinct and perseverance.

Howard Carter and his great goal
The treasure hunter's story reads like a novel, and the figures involved could also well be fictitious. Without any formal training, Howard Carter travelled to Egypt at the age of 17 as an archaeological draftsman, and went on to make an astonishing career there. In his mid-twenties he became Chief Inspector of the Egyptian Antiquities Services, but a dispute with drunken French tourists put a temporary end to his hitherto very successful career. For a time, Carter had to get by as a draftsman and antiques dealer.

After a few minor excavation commissions, he had an encounter with Lord Carnarvon that was to prove fateful. The wealthy aristocrat, globetrotter and fast car fan was convalescing in Egypt after an accident. Using all his powers of persuasion, Howard Carter succeeded in winning over the lord to sponsor a very special project. Carter was firmly convinced – contrary to all claims – that the tomb of Pharaoh Tutankhamun was still to be found in the «Valley of the Kings».

For five long years Lord Carnarvon financed Carter’s ambitious search for the tomb – but to no avail. When Carnarvon refused further financial support, Carter persuaded him to permit him one last season excavating for the tomb. And at the end of November 1922 he did indeed find it!

The legend lives on
The discovery of the tomb and its fantastic treasures triggered a press sensation such as had never been known before. When the finds were unearthed, endless streams of tourists made a pilgrimage there. High-ranking personages, such as Queen Elisabeth of Belgium, paid a visit to the tomb. However, Lord Carnarvon was not able to enjoy his fame as its discoverer for long. He died shortly thereafter, probably from an infection. Some newspapers marked the lord’s death with a report of a curse that was claimed to have been imposed on the burial chamber.

Right up to the present day, the speculations surrounding the lord’s death have never ceased. Lord Carnarvon’s premature death actually amounted to an involuntary contribution towards establishing the legend and fame surrounding the tomb’s discovery.

The timeless beauty of the royal treasures began to exercise an influence on artisans and designers soon after their discovery. An Egyptian pharaoh who has died around 3,300 years ago progressed to become a «pop star». The golden mask of the young king – in actual fact a sacred object symbolising the king who had become the Sun God in the Other World – is now an icon of modern advertising culture.


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