Recently, the Boston Museum of Fine Arts has displayed some rare artifacts in its "Pharaohs of the Sun" exhibition. This showing was designed to use specific objects to illustrate the golden Pharaonic era, rather than bombard visitors with too many pieces haphazardously put together. The museum's curators have picked items from the time of Akhenaton who jointly ruled Egypt with his father Amenhotep III for a short period from 1379-1362 B.C.
"Pharaohs of the Sun" provided an opportunity for the visitor to feel and relive the unique years of the family of:
* Akhenaton, whose reputation is based on his developing of the cult of the Sun, Aten. (his beliefs were revolutionary, as they transformed pagan religious practicing into monotheism).
* His beloved wife Nefertiti.
* Tutankhamen, his son, who was 11 at his accession. Ruled between 1360-1350 B.C.
The Boston Museum is clearly not the first to display Pharaonic pieces, as many of the world's top museums such as The Metropolitan Museum of Art, The Cairo Museum, The British Museum or The Berlin Museum have done for years.
In most cases, museums overwhelm visitors with everything from statues to mummies to entire pyramids. The Boston Museum has taken a different approach, by focusing on antiquities that highlight this era, known for its worshipping of the sun.
According to museum representatives, the combination of these rare monumental pieces tells a story and is designed to breathe life once again into a time long past.
Along with the artifacts, the exhibition organizers have provided helpful explanations to assist the visitor understand the royal family and their physical environment. For example, the King and his family are depicted as powerful, yet not remote. They insinuate that the women were not secondary in importance, but rather equal to their men. Never before had the statue of the king similar in size to that of his wife - here the Berlin Nefertiti's head matches that of her husband's.
Having viewed this exceptional collection there is still something missing. Roger Owen of the Al-Ahram (March 2, 2000) verbalized it best: "If only these wonderful objects could be left to try to speak to us on their own, by the same system of signs and the depiction of wonders with which they strove to communicate with their Egyptian contemporaries so many centuries ago".
© 2000 Al Bawaba (www.albawaba.com)