How Does It Feel to See to King Tut’s Face?

“I Saw the Golden Mask of King Tut’s Face, in Denver Today,” Museum Rating: Awe-Inspiring!

There is absolutely no comparison between seeing a photograph of a huge Egyptian statue, 20 feet tall, 3,000 years old–and standing right in front of it.

No comparison at all.

Why even bother taking a photograph?

I’m kind of glad that they prohibited photographs, even non-flash photographs, at the King Tut exhibition.

That might prevent people from actually being there, psychologically, in the presence of these awesome treasures.

When you first get there, the charge for museum non-members is $30, and it is worth every single penny.

Then they try to do two $5 add-ons–and I took ’em both: a 3-D movie and a hand-held device with Harrison Ford’s voice on it, talking to you about about 20 exhibits when you punch in the number. I used that only three or four times, as I figured I would.

So, $40, plus $7 parking and about $8 in gas there and back: $55–and worth every penny to travel halfway around the world and 3,000 years ago.

I recommend this to you more than I can say. There were a lot of people from other countries taking this in as well. It is only here until January 9th, 2011, so if you are in Colorado, you ~gotta~ go see this!

The friendly greeter at the door looked like Alan Arkin, and I told him so. He said people said he looked like Anthony Hopkins, and I agreed with that, too.

We began the exhibition standing in a dark black-draped area and a TV screen with the bassed-out voice of Indiana Jones–I mean Harrison Ford.

This was extremely well done by people, perfectionists, who obviously do this for a living. (Once, I spoke over the phone at work with a guy who transported million dollar artworks, and man, that is an intense process).

The first thing I saw as we entered the “crypt” was a life-sized statue of Menkaure son of Khafre. There I was, like a dork, writing down the name of the first ancient Egyptian I ever met, “in person.”

I looked closely at his hands, and the various lengths of his fingers matched mine.

Apparently, we had the same Creator.

So, after meeting the son of Khafre, I tried to let everyone go by me so I could have some space, but the next group came in as soon as the first started to leave. There were, I think, 15 rooms in all, and another guy at the exit door told me there were exactly 100 pieces in all.

There were about five mind-blowing full-room displays–huge statues that looked at you with those thick-lined Egyptian eyes.

I don’t know if it was the music or what, but I could see how the common Egyptian people of thousands of years ago would be intimidated into worship of these pharaohs–I felt the power, no joke.

If you go, you need to stand right in front of the biggest pieces for several minutes to really freaking get the effect! And you will!

People were quiet and mesmerized, walking around and through these displays.

My shadow fell across the funerary box of a royal Egyptian cat…

I put my face four inches from a face that was thousands of years old–nothing between us but air: the statue face of Queen Meritamun. This was the experience I was looking for!

By the way, that Menkaure guy I met first–he ordered the building of the smallest of the three Great Pyramids of Giza you’ve seen photos of hundreds of times. (I can’t imagine what kind of an experience it would be to see those, and the Sphinx, in person in Egypt!)

The guy whose face is on the Sphinx–his statues were there, too, as well as those of many other pharaohs.

Then there was Amenhotep IV, a huge skinny-faced guy, 17 feet tall who looked like an exotic black kid, with narrow nose, raised cheekbones and full lips, slightly smirking at you as he stared you down with serene arrogance.

I have to admit, I had a visceral reaction to this piece, like this dude was challenging me.

This piece also had a very strong, quiet power.

As I walked by a huge mummy case, looking intensely at other things, I bumped all 300 plus of my pounds into it, and for a moment I thought I was about to become famous for knocking over a mummy sarcophagus, but, thank God, it was heavily secured to the floor.

In the very last room there was a huge statue of King Tutankhamun himself, as if to bid you farewell. The Boy King himself, the minor Egyptian king who died at age 19, but precisely because he was so minor no one discovered his tomb, and he is the only one whose things survive to this day.

One of the most incredible things to see was the bed of King Tut–a very simple wicker-woven thing, but when you realise that this, one foot away from you, is the very thing upon which a real live ancient Egyptian Pharaoh slept and dreamed… Man, if you have any imagination at all…

This was just awesome. I may go to see it again before it leaves the state in 5 months.

If you go, from the Springs, get off at the Broadway exit. The Denver Art Museum (big crazy-looking silver building) is at 13th and Bannock.

Have fun, and let me know what you think!

By the way, that gold mask of King Tut was actually a full-body shape, a super-detailed gorgeous miniature, and about 1 foot tall, but that didn’t spoil anything at all. (I joked with this really gorgeous blonde girl looking at it that I wanted it as a souvenir).

(Side note to self: I got to get out to Denver more, the girls there know how to dress and act–classy!)

The 3D movie–the best thing about it was that I learned that the preserved mummy face of Ramses, from THE TEN COMMANDMENTS Bible story with Moses asking him to “let my people go,” is the ~only~ face from the Bible stories that you can actually still see today and know what the person looked like (kind of a long, gaunt, drawn face, like Peter Cushing (Grand Moff Tarkin) from the original STAR WARS, I kid you not!)

Yes, I think that is absolutely amazing. This guy who talked with ~Moses~ OVER THREE THOUSAND YEARS AGO–his body still exists and you can see his face, very well preserved. This was the face that talked to Moses in that Bible story. You gettin’ this?

This was a *fantastic* exhibit.

When I got back to my apartment a few hours ago and unlocked and opened my door, for a moment, I felt like I was entering a crypt thousands of years old. That’s how powerful an affect this exhibit had one me.

You do ~not~ want to miss this one.

Curtis Smale

October 12, 2011

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