A world event at La Grande Halle de la Villette
From the obelisk standing in the place de la Concorde to the pyramid at the Louvre Museum, there are many buildings in Paris which bear witness to the City of Light's passion for ancient Egypt. 2019 is France-Egypt Cultural Year, which is why Paris is getting ready to welcome some of the most beautiful pieces discovered in the most famous tomb in the history of humanity. The Egyptian Ministry of Antiquities has pulled out all the stops with “Tutankhamun: Treasures of the Golden Pharaoh”. This major public exhibition, which has already been presented in Los Angeles, is coming for several months to the Grande Halle de la Villette, before continuing on its world tour. Audio guides will be available to provide the more curious visitors with additional information.
Hidden treasures, discovered by miraculous chance
You are in for a thrilling experience amidst 150 original gems, gold jewellery, engravings, sculptures and ritual tools, all found in Tutankhamun's tomb. What a privilege it is to see these masterpieces, some of which have left Egypt for the first time! These works of art will then return to the future Grand Egyptian Museum which will stand right next to the pyramids. By visiting the exhibition, visitors are also helping to fund what will be the largest museum in Africa.
This unique event will take you back to the 14th century BC, when the 11th Pharaoh of ancient Egypt was on the throne. Having died prematurely after a reign of nine years at the age of 18 or 19, Tutankhamun was buried with his jewels in the depths of the Valley of the Kings, near Luxor. Dug just above, the tomb of Rameses VI hid the young king's tomb and protected it from pillaging. In 1922, the British archaeologist Howard Carter miraculously discovered the intact tomb of this Pharaoh, until then little-known, underneath the sandy desert. Although the legendary golden mask has stayed in its country of origin, open your eyes wide and admire the splendid pieces in this exclusive presentation. The ancient Egyptians considered death to be the beginning of a new life. They thought they would be reborn if the body of the deceased was preserved in accordance with magic rites and surrounded with funerary offerings to accompany them in this great journey to the afterlife.
A miniature coffin and precious artefacts
Amongst the pieces being exhibited, you will be fascinated by the sarcophagi adorned with precious stones such as lapis-lazuli, the “Heavenly Stone”, which symbolises the eyes of God. You can also admire the vases decorated with hieroglyphs, and some toys which belonged to the pharaoh as a child, such as small carved figurines.
Linger next in front of the spectacular statue of the effigy of Tutankhamun. An audio guide will enlighten you about the symbolism of this work which guarded the King's tomb: the statue's black skin evokes the fertility of the Nile and its promise of resurrection, while gold refers to the sun, and was considered to be the flesh of the gods.
Farther on, you will be intrigued by a miniature canopic coffin representing the Egyptian Emperor. You will be amazed by this object's function: it held his liver! During mummification, the internal organs were stored separately from the body. These organs were embalmed, anointed with unguents and resin, wrapped in linen strips and then placed in vases or, as in Tutankhamun's case, concealed in miniature coffins.
Your gaze will be drawn to another artefact: the naos. This wooden chest covered in gold leaf contained a statuette, also certainly in gold, depicting Tutankhamun. Its richly decorated door panels and sides were illustrated with scenes of the latter with Ankhesenamun, his young wife. The Royal couple can be seen hunting birds in the marshes, and in scenes depicting offerings, in which the queen had a special role. The exhibition also presents a sumptuous funeral bed, magnificently and beautifully staged. This ceremonial bed in ebony with gold leaves is decorated with heavenly figures watching over the King at rest. According to Egyptian beliefs, the dead were simply asleep and rose again at the time of their rebirth.
After this waking dream in the dazzling world of the heir to the 18th dynasty, you can extend your knowledge in the famous Egyptian Gallery the Louvre. Here you will find remains of the civilisations which in their turn occupied the banks of the Nile.
Tutankhamun: Treasures of the Golden Pharaoh
From 23 March to 15 September 2019
Grande Halle de la Villette
211 avenue Jean Jaurès
+33(0)1 40 03 75 75