I know you and I know your names.Spell 144, Book of the Dead
The act of speaking the name of the deceased aloud restores them to life and if repeated daily, guarantees immortality. Until a century ago, Tutankhamun was a name that had been forgotten in the sands of time. In 1923, Howard Carter unearthed one of the greatest discoveries in Egyptian history. Currently, some of the discoveries from Tutankhamun’s tomb are now on a final world tour, before they return to Cairo forever. While the UK weather is rainy and cold, wrinkly human has told me about a few adventures he has been on. The most interesting was his visit to Cairo, to see all of the sites; including the Sphinx. Safe to say it made me very excited for my visit to the Saatchi Gallery.
I arrived nice and early to try and avoid the most of the crowds. The tickets were checked and I scared the bag checking human, by jumping out of the handbag of doom; then it was time to enter a dark room. There was a short film explaining who and how Tutankhamun was found in Egypt, though my photographer couldn’t watch on the curved screen as it caused severe dizziness. After 5 minutes of listening to the interesting video, the double doors opened into gallery 1.
Information was on some of the walls and on top of the cases. It was set out really well, following Tutankhamun’s journey through the afterlife. There are many artefacts which have never been outside Eygpt before. The first gallery only contained boxes but I was surprised to find they had all been so well preserved. The decorations and colours were still bright and the hieroglyphics readable.
Onto the next gallery gave an insight into the journey which had to be undertaken through the underworld. There were a few of the boats (dinosaur sized), all with beautiful decorations and dinosaur blue lions on each side. Shields, God’s and fans once adorned in ostrich feathers were on display, shimmering gold under the lights. I was amazed by the sheer attention to detail on each piece, even walking sticks were decorated beautifully.
At the entrance of each gallery, there was a huge Egyptian painting, it was like entering one of the pyramids. Each room had a few key pieces of jewellery. But my favourite room had some furniture, which was tiny. The boy king had to have small chairs and a tiny bed specially made for him. Seeing the artifacts puts it into perspective, reading about a boy who became pharoh gives the image of a strong demigod. The chair was tiny, almost the right size for me. How a boy could lead a country; in battle, understand politics and restore a religion amazes me. Tutankhamun achieved more in 19 short years than most people achieve in a lifetime.
Gallery 4 was my photographer’s favourite because of the anatomical perspective of the burial. Numerous small deities were on show, their main purpose was to act as guides for the pharoh. Next up was some of the jewellery such as bracelets, rings and brooches; some beautifully decadent dinosaur blue pieces too! I really loved the eye which appeared on many different pieces of jewellery. The eye of Horus was meant to guide the pharaoh and protect him. I think the eyes of Horus are doing a great job. Tutankhamun’s treasures have been protected for thousands of years.
In the middle of the room was a recreation of how the mummified pharoh was laid to rest. Lying peacefully with his hands crossed over the body with gold inlaid hands holding the crook and flail. A golden ba-bird and several golden straps with ornate hieroglyphs.
Scarab beetles made out of ornate gems were also present. I thinkbtthey were just a fashion item. Though the blue reminded me of the nile, yellow for the desert, green for growth and the beetle holding a bright red sun. It seems to be symbolising the transformation and Regeneration of Egypt.
I exist, alive, alive, enduring, enduring. I have awakened in peace.Spell 183, Book of the Dead
The final gallery gave an insight into Howard Carter’s discovery of the tomb. Old recordings and CGI recreation allowed me to feel as though I was walking into the tomb with them. I can imagine it was very scary going into a small dark cavern underground. I have never looked into the discovery from the archaeologists point of view. It is just as interesting as the discoveries themselves. The research going on in the background to find out the cause of death and Tutankhamun’s family was great to read about and I would love to know more. The room also included a few more trinkets and games which have been preserved incredibly well. Heading upstairs one final time I was greeted by Tutankhamun’s himself.
Though he may no longer walk with us.
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