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.