Friday Heirloom 2019

Friday Heirloom 99: Exhibition “Tutankhamun, the Treasures of the Pharaoh”, Paris

Check out the Highlights of April here

Heritage and money: Friday truth or Friday rant?


Selfie-attempt at the King Tut show in Paris

Once upon a time, in a beautiful country known as Italy, a girl (whose temperament was too much to bear for the big minds around her) was born.

Nevertheless, as a child, at the age of 5, she would walk around the neighborhood helping the elderly decipher their electricity bills, even though she would not go to kindergarten with the same tenacity and excitement…

Eventually, that child grew into a young woman who began to understand many things about the elderly, their community and their heritage.


Howard Carter, the British archaeologist who discovered Tutankhamun’s intact tomb in 1922

I grew up in a country where the concepts of heritage, museums and art have little to do with money. In fact, the two in the same sentence make some of my people cringe.


Some of the best 22 euros I’ve spent in a while…

They are the same people who want to get more money for their relatives’ museum work. They are the same people who would pay a big slice of their hard-earned money for big concerts or a ticket to Disneyland. They are the same people for whom twenty-two euros for a world-renowned exhibition like the one on Tutankhamun in Paris is too much! And, obviously, they are the same people who don’t understand the work behind an exhibition of this caliber…


A statue of Amon, protector of Tutankhamun

The way we see museums has to change. No longer detached temples of beauty, they need our money. If in the past it was acceptable to think that museums could rely on state and government support – if it ever was that way – things have changed. Public money has shrunk and in about every developed country (I speak for what I know) our heritage needs our support.


Wooden armchair of Tutankhamun with ebony and ivory inlays

Why should we contribute, you may ask? A politician in Italy has publicly stated that “With culture we don’t eat” (Con la cultura non si mangia), and I hope you know how wrong and misleading and possibly dangerous that statement is.

Not only is art good for our well-being, but visiting museums is also vital for us humans to understand our past and present for a better future! And, economically speaking, museums generate revenues just like some other tourist attractions (if not more than them, like probably in the case of Tutankhamon).


Inlaid wooden cartouche box

It is therefore not acceptable for people to think that museums today are self-sufficient. We simply cannot do it alone!


Gilded wooden and ivory pen case inlaid with glass

That’s why I’m very happy to help people understand that the exhibition currently on at the Grande Halle de la Villette in Paris is worth every euro.

Celebrating the centenary of the discovery of the royal tomb, this show is a unique opportunity to learn about the history of the most famous of the pharaohs, Tutankhamun, before the artefacts are permanently installed within the new Egyptian Grand Museum (which is currently under construction).

How can we not care about this?


Gilded wooden bed

More than 150 original objects from the pharaoh’s tomb are under our eyes. For some of them, this is the first (and last!) time out of Egypt.


Gilded wooden fan

And, wow! As you can see from the photos I was able to take, all in a dim light and while trying to avoid the crowds, these are all personal objects of King Tut, things that accompanied them in the two worlds, of life and death.


Gilded wooden shield with Tutankhamun (first time out of Egypt!)


(detail of the object above)

So, some of you may be wondering “who was Tutankhamun and why are they famous”? From what is known, Tutankhamun was an Egyptian pharaoh ruling during the 18th dynasty (circa 1332–1323 B.C), which is the era in which ancient Egypt achieved the peak of its power.


Gilded wooden statue of Ptah


Tutankhamun’s coffin in gold, glass and carnelian stone


Wooden figure of Tutankhamun on a bier, wooden sarcophagus, wooden Shabti


Gold wesekh collar

This is a fantastic exhibition, especially if you – like me – have never had a chance to experience it.


Tutankhamun’s wishing cup in the form of open lotus and two buds


Quartzite statue of Tutankhamun

I hope you’ll consider going to see it for yourself (remember to book a ticket in advance here!).

The show is on until September 15th, 2019 at La Villette in Paris and it offers extended hours during the months of April and May.

Different family-friendly activities are also available on site, including Egyptian-themed workshops and a even book-signing sessions with the curator of the show!

Have fun, and let me know how it goes.

2 thoughts on “Friday Heirloom 99: Exhibition “Tutankhamun, the Treasures of the Pharaoh”, Paris

  1. I absolutely agree with you. I have also written a blog post about Museums and entry fees. The research shows that the same people go to museums whether they are free or not. Museums do suffer if they don’t charge because they don’t get sufficient government funding to be self sufficient. I have also enjoyed several FutureLearn Courses on the value of Cultural Heritage in cities. The reason that so many people wanted to donate to Notre Dame is that the building is valued around the world as a symbol of heritage. It’s true value is in building community and hope for the future. It is never about the fact that there are so many people around the world in need.


Leave a Reply

Fill in your details below or click an icon to log in: Logo

You are commenting using your account. Log Out /  Change )

Twitter picture

You are commenting using your Twitter account. Log Out /  Change )

Facebook photo

You are commenting using your Facebook account. Log Out /  Change )

Connecting to %s