Right now, I’m in Washington D.C. with my husband. During the week he trains for his job, but on the weekends we go to see national monuments and museums within the nation’s capital. Last weekend, we went to the National Geographic museum, where they showcased their Queens of Egypt exhibit. While they had no mummies, all the other stuff they displayed was amazing. I normally don’t take pictures, but I knew I had to with this. Here are some of the best things in the exhibit.
1. Statue of Sekhmet
The goddess Sekhmet was a big deal in ancient Egypt. Long ago, the god Ra became aware that foolhardy mortals were plotting to kill him. He sent his daughter Sekhmet to punish the wicked men, and she transformed into a giant bloodthirsty lion. She set about the slaughter of the conspirators, but so great was her fury that she killed others not involved in the plot. She had nearly wiped out all of humanity when Ra decided that she needed to be stopped. He poured 7000 jugs of red beer into the Nile river, which Sekhmet thought was blood. She lapped it all up and fell into a sodden slumber. When she woke up, she had become the much mellower Hathor. She had statues all over the Temple of Karnak and they were well over 6 feet tall.
2. The Bust of Nefertiti
Also displayed was the bust of Nefertiti, one of the most famous images from ancient Egypt. Nefertiti means ‘The Beautiful One Who Has Come Forth’ and even in our modern era, she is supremely beautiful. She was the Great Royal Wife of Akhenaten in the 18th dynasty. He was the one who tried to elevate Aten as the only god and even had a new capital built to showcase his grand decision. After he died, things sorta went back to normal, but what we do know is that Nefertiti reigned for a time after his death by herself.
3. The Papyrus Court Report of the Conspiracy to Kill the Pharaoh
This doesn’t look like a good picture, but the papyrus was really long. It was a detailed report about the trial of those involved in the murder of Ramses III, including Queen Tiye, her son, many in his harem, and the overseer of the harem grounds. At the end of everything, 38 people were put to death. It was long thought that the body of Ramses III bore no wounds, but modern technology allowed us to see under his thickly-bandaged neck and reveal his deep throat wound. Also, his big toe was missing because things sometimes escalate.
4. The Stele of the Deceased Going to the Afterlife
This detailed stele shows a recently deceased man standing before Osiris after being judged by Anubis. It’s in remarkable shape though I don’t know who was being pictured.
5. Canopic Jars
During mummification, the organs of the dead were removed and placed into special jars to be retrieved later once they lived again. You’ve got Hapi, the baboon-headed god, and his jar held the lungs. The jackal-faced jar doesn’t represent Anubis in this case, but Duamutef. It held the stomach. The human-headed one is Imsety, and it contains the liver. The falcon-headed one is Qebesenuef and it held the intestines.
All in all, the exhibit was fantastic and if you’re in the DC area, I would highly recommend you check it out. It’s going to be there until September, so you’ve got time. Find more details over at the National Geographic museum’s website.