Out and About: A Department Trip to the Saatchi Gallery to See Tutankhamun

George Peckham, International Training Programme Assistant

This week we had an evening visit to the Saatchi Gallery to see their special exhibition Tutankhamun: Treasures of the Golden Pharaoh.

The exhibition commemorates the upcoming centenary of the discovery of the young Pharaoh’s tomb, which was unearthed in 1922. Treasures of the Golden Pharaoh is the largest collection of Tutankhamun’s treasures to travel outside of Egypt. Many of the treasures on display have traveled outside of Egypt for the very first time and will soon be moved to their new permanent home at Giza’s Grand Egyptian Museum.

The exhibition tells two stories. The first is about the life of Tutankhamun and his eventual journey in the afterlife. The exhibition is filled with beautifully crafted objects designed to prepare the young Pharaoh on his journey. Staffs and bows inlaid with gold and precious stones, wooden cases to hold food for the afterlife and gilded wooden figures depicting the young king on his journey are just some of the remarkable highlights on display.

The second story is of the discovery of the Pharaoh’s tomb in 1922 by British explorer Howard Carter and his financier Lord Carnarvon. The exhibition shows how the discovery of the tomb captured global media attention and solidified Tutankhamun as a cultural phenomenon. Seeing all of these objects for the first time, it was easy for me to see why the world was gripped by these discoveries in the 1920s.

The exhibition itself is quite bold in its presentation, with the inclusion of music, dramatic video narratives and even a virtual reality experience. But the black box-style rooms make the stunning golden objects really stand out. The beautiful and intricate craftsmanship of these treasures certainly made this a worthwhile visit!