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Go Back In Time To Queen Nefertari’s Egypt At The Kimbell


by Jessica Cross 26 Dec 2020 6:00 AM

The Kimbell Art Museum presents an in-depth exhibition about Queen Nefertari, beloved wife of Pharaoh Ramesses II.

In 1904, archeologist Ernesto Schiaparelli discovered Queen Nefertari’s tomb in the Valley of Queens as well as the nearby workmen’s village of Deir el-Medina. Her tomb is one of the largest and most resplendent tombs in the Vallery of Queens, which is evidence of how much Pharaoh Ramesses II valued and esteemed her. Nefertari was a highly educated queen who could read and write hieroglyphs, a rare thing at that time. Ramesses II named her “the one for whom the sun shines.”

“We know she was so beloved because he [Ramesses II] dedicated a temple to her. Twin temples near the border of Nubia,” said Jennifer Casler Price, curator for Queen Nefertari’s Egypt. “One was dedicated to himself and Horus, the falcon-headed god, and he built the smaller temple for Nefertari.”

Sandals Tomb of Nefertari (QV66), Valley of the Queens New Kingdom, 19th dynasty, reign of Ramesses II (ca. 1279–1213 B.C.E.) Vegetal Fibers (Palm Leaves) S. 05160/01 & 02 Museo Egizio, Turin, Italy

The exhibition showcases the great women and workers of Egypt with some 230 ancient objects, including statues, jewelry, vases, papyrus, steles, mummies, wooden coffins and stone sarcophagi, as well as tools and various items of daily life from the artisan village of Deir-el-Medina, home to the craftsmen who made the royal tombs.

Sculptor’s Model of Nekhbet and Wadjet Unknown provenance Ptolemaic Period (ca. 332–32 B.C.E.) Limestone Cat. 7055 Museo Egizio, Turin, Italy

“This really represents the height of Egyptian civilization, culture, and artistic production,” said Price.

“Things from everyday life,  but also tools — like a humble wooden mallet used to pound metal chisels. And you can actually still see the indentation around the circumference of the mallet, a mallet that was held by someone 3000 years ago. I just think that’s amazing”

Francesco Ballerini, Edoardo Baglione, and Michelangelo Pizzio Italian Model of Nefertari’s Tomb, early 1900s Wood Provv. 3749 Museo Egizio, Turin, Italy

You can go in person, or visit the exhibition through a virtual tour. The curator of the exhibition, Jennifer Casler Price, and collaborators Dr. Christian Greco, director of the Museo Egizio, and Julián Zugazgoitia, director of the Nelson-Atkins Museum of Art, discuss the objects and themes of the exhibition in the audio tour during your in-person visit. You can find the transcript online to print out or read before your visit. An exhibition catalog can be purchased on Kimbell’s website too.

Got a tip? Email Jessica Cross at [email protected]. You can follow her on Instagram @jessica.cross.

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