Saturday, July 08, 2006

Friends and a Pharaoh

Today was a special day for two reasons: we got to see our friends Adam and Natalie (they live in Maryland, so we only get to see them a couple of times a year), and the four of us went to the King Tut exhibit at the Field Museum.

Eugene and I are members of the museum, and a set of four tickets came with the package. We invited Adam and Natalie to see it with us since we thought they'd be interested. We booked a specific time for the exhibit months in advance. It was a good thing we did, as the exhibit was sold out today. As members, we got to bypass the long line and go in right on time.

We were all impressed with the arrangement of the exhibit. It starts with a short introductory film before you're allowed to proceed. The first couple of rooms set the scene by describing Egypt and King Tut's predecessors. One of the rooms was devoted to burial objects found in tombs of his family members. There's a brief section on King Tut's presumed father. I'm not sure how to spell his name; it's something like Akhenaten. He was the pharaoh who set aside the Egyptian pantheon of gods for worship of a single sun god. (Side note: in the sculptures before Akhenaten's time, kings and queens are equal in size and share a single throne. His queen, however, was shown as being much smaller than him, which I think is more symbolic than representational. Damn patriarchs!) King Tut and his advisors restored the traditional religion during his reign. The rest of the exhibit was devoted to Tut. We saw, among other things, a chair he used as a child (it still looked sturdy enough to hold a child), chest pectorals, statues, cosmetic jars, and a game buried in his tomb. They even had some of the goods found on his mummy, such as a gold knife. Eugene was disappointed that they didn't have the famous headdress, but that was probably too valuable to leave Egypt. The final room of the exhibit discussed the mystery of his death. Originally it was thought he had died of a blow to the head, but recent CT scans showed that his skull hadn't been fractured. (In fact, he didn't even have cavities.) The current theory is that he may had died of infection following a wound to the leg. It took us about an hour and a half to see everything, but it didn't seem like that. We would definitely recommend seeing this exhibit if you have the chance--but reserve your tickets ahead of time.

I wasn't as inspired with story ideas by this exhibit as I had been by Da Vinci; I did wonder what would have happened if Tut had lived longer, but I'm not sure if it would have made much difference, given that he'd already restored the old Egyptian religion. I did buy a couple of DVDs in the store, along with a small statue of a sitting scribe. I figured he would be good inspiration for a writer.

After taking some pictures of Sue the T-Rex, we decided to get something to eat. We spent a few more hours talking with Adam and Natalie before they had to check on their daughter and start getting ready for their trip back home. When we got home, we did laundry, Eugene watched a soccer game, and I critted Sue's latest chapter. It's getting late, but maybe now I can work on my own stories.


Russ said...

Sounds like a great show - I've always wanted to see the Tut exhibit, ever since I was a kid - Mom and Dad had gone to see the traveling exhibit, and we had this nice book of the artifacts that I'd flip through.

makoiyi said...

That T-Rex is very clever at writing stories. :)

Sandra said...

She sure is! I read her work all the time. ;)

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