A New Look at King Tut

A bust of Tutankhamun portrays the child king as a robust young leader

A bust of Tutankhamun portrays the child king as a robust young leader. Andreas F. Voegelin and Sammlung Ludwig/National Geographic Society/Antikenmuseum Basel hide caption

itoggle caption Andreas F. Voegelin and Sammlung Ludwig/National Geographic Society/Antikenmuseum Basel
Zahi Hawass points out details of one of the four small coffins holding Tutankhamun's viscera i i

Zahi Hawass points out details of one of the four small coffins holding Tutankhamun's internal organs, removed before the king was mummified. Jim Wallace, NPR hide caption

itoggle caption Jim Wallace, NPR
Zahi Hawass points out details of one of the four small coffins holding Tutankhamun's viscera

Zahi Hawass points out details of one of the four small coffins holding Tutankhamun's internal organs, removed before the king was mummified.

Jim Wallace, NPR

A new exhibit, "Tutankhamun and the Golden Age of the Pharaohs," opens to the public Thursday at the Los Angeles County Museum of Art.

It's one of the most highly anticipated art shows this year, generating the kind of buzz King Tut once garnered when artifacts from his tomb first toured the United States more than a generation ago. The Tut mystique — combined with yards and yards of gold —- helped make the original Tutankhamun show back in 1979 the first blockbuster art exhibition.

This time around, some never-before-seen artifacts dating back 3,300 to 3,500 years will be on display. The driving force behind this art event is Zahi Hawass, Egypt's secretary general of the Supreme Council of Antiquities.

The star of the original show was an elaborate, heavy gold mask that had for millennia covered the face of the young king's mummy. The gold mask didn't make the trip this time around — but the big news in the current exhibition is a digital display of what King Tut might have actually looked like, based on a CT scan overseen by Hawass last winter.

After Los Angeles, the exhibit will travel to Ft. Lauderdale, Fla., Chicago and Philadelphia.

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