- The Washington Times - Tuesday, June 4, 2002

The National Gallery of Art will announce today that a touring show of the largest group of antiquities ever loaned by Egypt "The Quest for Immortality: Treasures of Ancient Egypt" will open in Washington on June 30.
It will be on view at the gallery through Oct. 14.
Ancient Egyptian beliefs and practices based on the afterlife journey of pharaohs will be illustrated through approximately 115 objects from Egypt and a life-sized reconstruction of the burial chamber of the New Kingdom pharaoh Thutmose III (1479 to 1425 B.C.). Objects are loaned by the Egyptian government and will come from the Egyptian Museum in Cairo, the Luxor Museum and the sites of Tanis and Deir el-Bahari.
Organizers of the exhibit are the United Exhibits Group of Copenhagen and the National Gallery of Art, in association with the Supreme Council of Antiquities, Cairo.
The exhibition, which will include many objects never before placed on public display and many not seen outside Egypt, focuses on the time of the New Kingdom (1550 to 1069 B.C.) through the Late Period (664 to 332 B.C.). The New Kingdom marked the beginning of an era of great wealth, power and stability for Egypt, according to the National Gallery, and was accompanied by a burst of cultural activity, much of which was devoted to the quest for eternal life.
The exhibition is divided into six sections: Journey to the Afterworld, the New Kingdom, the Royal Tomb, Tombs of Nobles, the Realm of the Gods and the Tomb of Thutmose III.
Among the objects in the exhibition are gold and jeweled items from the royal tombs at Tanis (21st and 22nd dynasties), considered the most significant royal burial site since the discovery of Tutankhamun's tomb in 1922; the boat from the tomb of Amenhotep II (18th Dynasty); an 8-foot-long wooden model of a pharaoh's river ship that was used to sail on the Nile, painted with scenes of the god Montu smiting the enemies of Egypt; and the sandstone head of Thutmose I (18th Dynasty), derived from one of the standing colossal statues of the king.
The last room of the exhibition is a reconstruction of the tomb of Thutmose III. On the walls is the earliest known complete copy of the Amduat, the text describing the sun god's journey through the afterworld during the 12 hours of night when the sun god defeats his enemies in the netherworld and achieves rebirth at the eastern horizon to rise again in the morning sky.
The king joins the sun god, and the populace of Egypt follows along to share in the triumphant cycle of death and rebirth. The red granite lid of the massive sarcophagus of Nitocris, daughter of Psamtik I (26th Dynasty), will be installed in the room.
The exhibition will travel in the United States and Canada for five years. The venues include the Museum of Science in Boston, New Orleans Museum of Art, the Denver Museum of Nature and Science and the Museum of Fine Arts in Houston.

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