Navigation

Tutankhamun treasures come to Basel

The exhibition features treasure from Tutankhamun’s tomb. Antikenmuseum Basel und Sammlung Ludwig/Egyptian Museum Cairo

One of the world’s greatest cultural legacies – the burial treasure from the tomb of the Egyptian pharaoh Tutenkhamun – is to come to Basel in 2004.

This content was published on October 12, 2003 - 11:47

It is the first time in 20 years that the exhibition will have been on show in Europe.

From April to September 2004, Basel’s Museum of Ancient Art will stage the exhibition "Tutankhamun – The Golden Beyond".

It’s a dream come true for the museum’s director, Professor Peter Blome.

"Museum directors are also allowed to dream. But that the dream of staging an exhibition of treasures from the Valley of the Kings would come true one day – well, we hardly dared hope," he said.

The exhibition concept developed by museum curator André Wiese and his team seeks to answer questions about the nature of the burial treasure of the Egyptian rulers and how it differed from that of members of the royal entourage.

As well as 50 of the most important treasures from Tutankhamun’s tomb it will also feature objects from other royal tombs from the 18th Dynasty – 15th-14th century BC.

A further highlight will be loans from the intact tomb of Yuya and Tuyu, the parents-in-law of Amenophis III. This tomb was discovered some 20 years before that of Tutankhamun, and was until then the most celebrated find in the entire field of Egyptian archaeology.

Back to Europe

Shown in Paris in 1967, London in 1972 and Germany in 1980-81, treasures from the tomb of the pharaoh are returning to Europe after an absence of over 20 years. In all, about 120 treasures from graves in the Valley of the Kings will be exhibited.

"There has never been an exhibition with such a wealth of top-flight treasures," said Blome. "Many of the exhibits we'll be showing in Basel have never been seen outside Egypt."

But the exhibition will not include the famous Gold Mask, which is regarded as a national treasure in Egypt and is no longer lent to museums abroad.

The Basel Museum of Ancient Art is to be the only exhibition venue in Europe.

The funerary treasures from the period of the 18th Dynasty are between 3,500 and 3,300 years old. Many of them are made of gold or are gilded. Gold was considered in Ancient Egypt to be the colour of the sun and thus symbolised rebirth in the afterlife.

Treasures placed in the burial chambers were intended to ensure the existence of the deceased beyond the grave.

Half a million people are expected to visit the six-month-long exhibition, most of them from Switzerland and neighbouring countries. "But I'm confident", says Blome, "that it will also attract visitors from other parts of Europe.”

swissinfo, Richard Dawson

In brief

The Basel exhibition will be the first of its kind in Europe for over 20 years.

The treasure, from the period of the 18th Dynasty in Ancient Egypt are between 3,500 and 3,300 years old.

They include 50 of the most important pieces from Tutankhamun’s tomb.

Many are made of gold, which symbolised rebirth in the afterlife.

About half a million people are expected to visit the six-month-long exhibition, which opens in April 2004.

The Basel Museum of Ancient Art says it can stage the exhibition thanks to its international reputation and good relations with Egypt's ancient monuments authority and the National Museum in Cairo.

End of insertion

This article was automatically imported from our old content management system. If you see any display errors, please let us know: community-feedback@swissinfo.ch

In compliance with the JTI standards

In compliance with the JTI standards

More: SWI swissinfo.ch certified by the Journalism Trust Initiative

Contributions under this article have been turned off. You can find an overview of ongoing debates with our journalists here. Please join us!

If you want to start a conversation about a topic raised in this article or want to report factual errors, email us at english@swissinfo.ch.

Share this story

Change your password

Do you really want to delete your profile?