King Tut exhibit dazzles at Pacific Science Center

August 28, 2012

By Kathleen R. Merrill

The only such figure found in the tomb’s antechamber, Tutankhamun’s shabti is one of the largest of the servant statuettes. Photo © Sandro Vannini

All that glitters is gold … and lapis and stone

If you pay attention to the marketing or were looking forward to a repeat of the 1978 King Tut exhibit, you’ll find it a great disappointment that you won’t see the famous and much beloved death mask at “Tutankhamun: The Golden King and the Great Pharaohs” at the Pacific Science Center.

But if you set that aside, you will see some just-as-incredible and in some ways more amazing artifacts at the exhibit that continues until Jan. 6. Besides, organizers said this will be the last chance for people to see treasures of King Tut anywhere in the United States.

And the exhibit that takes about an hour and a half to two hours to really explore has 149 objects from the boy king’s tomb and other places representing rulers from 2,000 years of Egyptian history. The exhibit in 1978 had 50.

Instead of the death mask, you will see the largest image of Tut ever found — it stands 10 feet high and weighs in at more than 3,000 pounds. You will also see some items from the 1978 exhibit. It’s fun to see what you remember from back then.

If you go

‘Tutankhamun: The Golden King and the Great Pharaohs’

  • Open daily from 9:45 a.m. to 6 p.m. through Jan. 6
  • Pacific Science Center
  • 200 Second Ave. N., Seattle
  • Tickets: $15.50 to $32.50
  • 206-443-2001

You should know

  • There are no restrooms in the exhibit and re-entry into the exhibit is not allowed. There are restrooms in Building 5, close to the exhibit entry.
  • Nonflash photography is allowed, but posing with exhibits is not.Food or beverage, pens, backpacks, gum and oversized strollers are not allowed in the exhibit.
  • The temperature in the exhibit is 68 degrees. It can feel chilly after a while.
  • Street parking and paid lots are available nearby. Paid street parking is available Monday-Saturday from 8 a.m. to 8 p.m.

Some other amazing Tut artifacts are:

  • the golden sandals found on his feet when archaeologist Howard Carter unwrapped his mummy in November 1922.
  • the canopic coffinette (a miniature coffin made in Tut’s likeness) that held his stomach. The head of it is a tiny death mask (and this is what is actually in the marketing materials for the exhibit); the inlay work (including lapis lazuli) is some of the most incredible detail work you will ever see, especially when you see the scale on which it was done.
  • gold finger and toe protectors that were also found on Tut’s mummy. They include engraving of the nails and ridges of the skin so they look lifelike.
  • a necklace, Pectoral with Three Scarabs, which was found around Tut’s neck when his mummy was discovered.
  • an engraved gold collar also found on his mummy.
  • one of seven beds found in Tut’s tomb.
  • a scarab ring that features intricate detailing in gold, including the coil-wrapped band.

Other things you should not miss include:

  • a collar found on the body of Neferuptah, daughter of Amenemhat III. It’s another amazing piece of inlay work.
  • the sarcophagus for the cat of Prince Thutmose, the eldest son of Amenhotep III. The limestone box is a beautiful tribute to a beloved pet.
  • the colossal statue of Amenhotep IV (Ankhenaten), Tut’s father. Weighing in at more than 4,000 pounds, it’s truly ginormous. Looking up at it may be the closest you ever get to the huge statues you see in movies and books and on the Internet.
  • statues of prominent pharaohs, including Khafre, builder of the Great Sphinx and one of the pyramids at Giza; Hatshepsut, the queen who became a pharaoh; and Ramesses the Great.
  • multiple figures of Inty-shedu at various stages throughout his life. The tomb was unearthed by famed Dr. Zahi Hawass and his team in 1992.

Perhaps the most breathtaking thing to view in the entire exhibit, and the closest comparison to Tut’s death mask, is the Funerary Mask of Psusennes I. There is a little lapis lazuli here, but the mask is mostly gold. Although smaller than Tut’s, it is an exquisite work of art.

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