Uncovering the Enchanting Heritage of the 18th Dynasty in Ancient Egypt (ca. 1543–1292): Examining the Period of King Tutankhamun and the Sacred Lines of Pharaohs

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Photo by Edward Pevos of MLive

Story by Edward Pevos of MLive

You can now step back in time to the 18th dynasty of ancient Egypt (c. 1543–1292) and see King Tutankhamun and the pharaoh’s sacred possessions. Scroll down to see a taste of Cranbrook’s new exhibit which is now open through September 3, 2017.

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More than 100 treasures

The exhibit features 131 replicas of the pharaoh’s sacred possessions and artifacts. These are very detailed and exact replicas of the originals which will no longer be leaving Egypt.

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Ticket info

Tickets are $10 for non-members of the Cranbrook Institute of Science and $9 for members. Kids ages 2-12 are $8.

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Bust of Tut on a Lotus – 18th Dynasty

This portrait captures Tut’s elongated platycephalic skull, a common feature among members of the inbred royal family of Amarna.

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Court sandals – 18th Dynasty

Fashioned of papyrus fiber, leather, wood and sheet gold, some 93 articles of footwear were buried with Tut. The finest example is this pair of sandals found in the Antechamber, packed inside of the painted chest. Made of wood with ornate marquetry veneer, the soles are decorated with the traditional images of captive African and Asian enemies, symbolically trampled with the pharaoh’s every step.

The original sandals can be found at the Cairo Museum.

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Ebony game box & casting sticks – 18th Dynasty

One of Tut’s favorite diversions was playing games of chance. Like many ancient Egyptians, he enjoyed the game of “senet” in which the movement  of pawns on a checkerboard was decided by the throw of knucklebones or casting stucks. Of the four game boxes found in the Annex, this one made of wood with ebony and ivory veneer was the finest.

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Royal Mummy of Pharaoh Tutankhamun & Funerary Bier

The much anticipated opening of the third coffin, delayed by the sudden death of Lord Carnarvon, revealed the pharaoh’s mummy which measured 5ft 4in in length.

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Wrapped in linen bandages enfolding over 150 carefully placed sacred jewels and amulets and liberally anointed with consecrated lustrations, his body had been badly damaged. Its brittle tissue withered and blackened by excessive application of the very resins intended to preserve it.

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His face, protected by the gold mask, suffered the least damage. Encircling his head was a royal diadem of gold inlaid with cloisonne and semiprecious stones. His fingers and toes were individually capped with plain gold sheaths and his feet were fitted with a pair of ornamental sandals made of gold.

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As the priceless treasures on Tut’s person were removed, the pharaoh’s fragile remains were senselessly torn to pieces. A second examination of the mummy in 1968 revealed possible evidence of a fatal blow to the skull behind the left ear.

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Royal sailing vessel – 18th Dynasty

Typical of royal burials, the pharaoh’s tomb included a fleet of 35 model boats associated with his mystic pilgrimages in the afterlife and representing both practical and ceremonial vessels. The sailboat appears to be a funerary model of the majestic craft that carried the pharaoh up and down the Nile.

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Golden Bed – 18th Dynasty

Of the six beds found in the tomb, the most spectacular was the pharaoh’s personal golden bed, recovered from the tangled debris of the Annex. The regal feline frame is made of gilded ebony strung with an elaborately woven mattress.

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Golden Dagger and Sheath – 18th Dynasty

This royal dagger is fashioned of solid gold. It was discovered wrapped as an amulet within the linen bandages of the pharaoh’s mummy where it had been ritually placed on his right thigh.

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Golden Funerary Mask of Tut

This was fashioned from two sheets of solid gold hammered into a likeness of Tut. It was found resting over the head and shoulders of the pharaoh’s linen-wrapped mummy.

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Nefertiti – 18th Dynasty

This painted limestone bust of the beautiful Queen Nefertiti was found in the workshop of the master sculptor Djhutmose in El-Amarna, where it was utilized as an instructional model, hence its unfinished eye.

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Winged Isis – 18th Dynasty Style

The most revered of the ancient Egyptian goddesses, Isis was the legendary mother of Horus and both wife and twin sister of Osiris.

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Golden Cosmetic Spoon – 18th Dynasty

This gilded wooden ointment spoon was fashioned of a bathing maiden, a classic motif for cosmetic containers in the 18th Dynasty Egypt.

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Queen Ankhnesmerire and Pepi II – 6th Dynasty

At the close of the 6th Dynasty, around 800 years before Tut’s birth, the Old Kingdom came to an end with the death of Pharaoh Pepi II. A child pharaoh like Tut, Pepi II enjoyed a long reign which lasted for 90 years.

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Golden State Chariot – 18th Dynasty

Constructed of bent wood and leather to be both sturdy and lightweight, the chariot was introduced to the Egyptians by the Asiatic Hyksos during the early 18th Dynasty.

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Triad of Mycerinus – 4th Dynasty

Discovered in the Vally Temple of the pyramid of Menkaure as part of a series of five group statues, this triad depicts the pharaoh dressed in the pleated scendyt loincloth and wearing the white hedjet crown of the region.

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Thutmose III – 18th Dynasty

Thutmose III was perhaps Egypt’s mightiest pharaoh. After overthrowing his regent stepmother, Thutmose III obliterated her name from her monuments. His many campaigns in Syria and Palestine established an extensive empire in Asia as well as Nubia (Sudan), infusing his traditionally isolated country with the cosmopolitan influence of outside cultures.

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Statue of Tut with Harpoon – 18th Dynasty

Wearing the red deshret crown of Lower Egypt, Tut is ritually depicted in this gilded hardwood statue as the god Horus, standing on a papyrus raft with his arm upraised to harpoon the evil, scheming god Seth in the form of an invisible hippopotamus.

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Ebony Child’s Chair – 18th Dynasty

This small uninscribed chair was found in the Antechamber constructed of African ebony joined with gold-capped rivets and decorated with ivory inlay and gilt side panels depicting a pair of ibexes.

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Head of the Divine Cow – 18th Dynasty

Hathor’s manifestation in the form of the divine cow, owing to her origins of an ancient agrarian culture, is portrayed in this gilt wooden votive sculpture found on the Treasury floor between the Anubis shrine and the Canopie shrine, with  its face to the west.

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Shied of Narmer Ceremonial Palette – 1st Dynasty

Commemorating Narmer’s conquest, this 5,000 year old artifact is one of the oldest surviving historical documents. The real one is located at the Cairo Museum in Egypt.

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Royal Broad Collar – 18th Dynasty Style

Most of Tuts jewelry was stolen in antiquity by the tomb robbers. Throughout the four chambers and the tomb’s entrance corridor, Howard Carter found more than 200 ornaments and amulets, including collars and necklaces, pendants, bracelets and rings, the majority originating from the Treasury. This reconstruction is in the classic Amarna style.

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Cartouche box – 18th Dynasty

Of the dozens of wooden boxes and chests of various sizes buried in the tomb, none escaped ransacking by the grave robbers in antiquity. Containing everything from linens and sandals to trinkets and cosmetics, four of these boxes were designed in the shape of a royal cartouche, representing a knotted loop of rope encircling the name of an exalted figure.

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The Golden Throne and Ceremonial Footrest – 18th Dynasty

Majestically flanked by two leonine heads and with armrests of winged uraeus serpents wearing the pschent double crown, the pharaoh’s golden throne was found in the Antechamber underneath one of the bestial couches.

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Ritual couch – 18th Dynasty

This piece of furniture was probably the first thing that Howard Carter saw when he broke the seal of the tomb. Associated with Mehetweret, goddess of the great flood, its matching heads were fashioned in the form of the revered cow goddess Hathor, their tall horns framing a pair of solar discs.

Although commonly depicted in Egyptian tomb paintings, Tut’s was the only furniture of this sort ever to be found intact.

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Golden Mummiform Coffin – 18th Dynasty

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Lion Funerary Bedhead – 18th Dynasty

The first of three ritual couches discovered in the Antechamber was flanked by a pair of gilded wooden lions or cheetahs. Its two bedheads were inlaid in blue glass with eyes of painted crystal.

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Selket – 18th Dynasty

Second only to Isis in her connection with divine magic and escorted by scorpions, the enchanting goddess Selket is associated with childbirth and nursing as well as with the magical treatment of scorpion stings.

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Papyrus Vignette of Akhenaton, Nefertiti, and Meritaton

The tough fibers of the flowering marsh reed known as papyrus were used in Egypt since ancient times to make baskets, mats, ropes and sandals while the pithy stems were cut in strips and beaten together to make paper. This portrait depicts the royal family making offerings to the radiant Aton.

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Ushabti Figure – 18th Dynasty

From the time of the late Middle Kingdom (2040-1640 B.C.) funerary mummiform figurines with a visible head were commonly buried in tombs to serve as substitutes for the deceased in the next world.

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Canopic Urns – 21st Dynasty

The fascination with immortality in ancient Egypt led to a national economy centered around the production of ritual funerary equipment. These 4 genies, Imseti, Hapi, Duamutef and Qebhsenuef were identified with the internal organs of the dead, which were separately embalmed and entombed in four ceremonial receptacles named for the town of Canopus where idols of the local god took the form of a rounded jar with the head of Osiris.

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