Tutankhamun was an ancient Egyptian pharaoh who was the last of his royal family to rule at the end of the 19th Dynasty during the New Kingdom. Known as “the boy king,” he inherited the throne at just nine years old and mysteriously died less than a decade later, with his legacy seemingly wiped from the face of the planet, leading many to claim he was murdered. In 1922, Mr Carter discovered Tutankhamun’s tomb in the Valley of the Kings, famously telling his sponsor Lord Carnarvon he saw “wonderful things”.
However, the story does not stop there.
World-renowned Egyptologist Dr Hawass revealed to Express.co.uk that there was one object that caught Mr Carter’s eye – so much so he ordered the inscription to be written on his grave too.
He said: “My favourite treasure is the wishing cup, and the reason is because it is beautiful, it is made of alabaster.
“This was also Howard Carter’s favourite piece.
When I visited his tomb I found the inscription of this cup written on it
Dr Zahi Hawass
“On that piece there is a religious prayer that Howard Carter requested to be written on his grave.
“When I visited his tomb last year, I found the inscription of this cup written on it [his grave].
“My second [favourite] is a small head, a golden figure on a necklace, it’s beautiful.”
Known as the Lotus Chalice, the cup was one of the first objects which Carter and his excavators found on entering the tomb.
The vessel was almost directly behind the entrance of the corridor to the antechamber, where they broke in, on the ground.
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It is currently on display at the Saatchi Gallery in London following the opening of new exhibition “Tutankhamun: Treasures of the Golden Pharaoh.”
More than 150 artefacts have travelled from Egypt and will be on display now until May 3, 2020.
Dr Hawass added: “All of these 150 artefacts were inserted in the tomb which would help the deceased to fight and go straight to the afterlife.
“Each one of them is unique, if you look at it, it will capture the heart of any visitor to this exhibition.
“I don’t believe in the afterlife, but it was the belief of the afterlife that allowed the ancient Egyptians to build Egypt.
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“Without that belief, you would never have this great civilisation building pyramids and building tombs and all the unique artefacts that helped them to get to the afterlife.
“It was the most important thing, it built Egypt.”
For the first time ever, 60 items have left the country, before they return to their permanent home in the new Grand Egyptian Museum next year.
Recently closed in Paris, the exhibition became France’s most visited of all time with an attendance of over 1.4 million.
Dr Tarek Al Awady, curator of the exhibition detailed to Express.co.uk the huge task of organising it.
He said: “It’s a very exciting thing to be able to tour the world with King Tutankhamun.
“But it’s also a huge responsibility, we are travelling with 150 masterpieces from the tomb of Tutankhamun.
“So we are working according to well-placed plans for the transportation, the packing of the artefacts, the installation of the artefacts, and we do have a well-trained team to do the job for the King.”
Dr Awady also rubbished claims that any of the items could possibly be cursed.
He continued: “The first spoken words by Howard Carter to describe the treasures were ‘wonderful things’.
“These were the only two words that he could find, you know, when his eyes glazed for the first time on the treasures.
“After the discovery, a few months after, Lord Carnarvon died and because of the news of his death, the news was spread everywhere about the curse of the mummy, it was very interesting, but every tiny incident was then related to this curse.
“I have to tell you that I have been working for the last 25 years with the treasures of Tutankhamun and I have never experienced a bad accident.
“We take care of the monuments and our goal is to preserve it and keep it safe for the next generation.”
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