This is Ahmed Tantawy; for ten days, he was my very own Egyptologist.
Ahmed is an Egypt expert and loves helping unseasoned travelers like me make sense of the history and culture of the country he deeply loves. Yes, Ahmed and I were fortunate enough to be assigned to one another while I was in Egypt. In truth, I had to share him with the others in my group, but his in depth explanations and compelling story telling skills made for a unique learning experience for me. Ahmed’s first lesson at the Cairo Museum was an important one….ignore the throngs of people; pretend the crowds are not there; try not to grow impatient; see everything you are able to see…. for example, this life-sized statue that was discovered in Tutankhamun’s royal tomb. It was one of a pair that guarded the entrance to Tut’s burial chamber. The statue acted as the sentry of the tomb and as “Ka” or a spirit statue. Can you tell that Egyptians loved gold!!!! And they still do.
Ahmed told us that the Cairo Museum had so much to offer, but most visitors with limited time focused on the Tutankhamun exhibit…we were no different. A knowledgable guide like Ahmed makes all the difference in the world. Looking at and learning about ancient objects…like these jars that held royal organs as part of the mummification process or…
this jackal carving representing the god, Anubis….brings the ancient world closer to the here and now…making some ever so important connections between the past and the present.
The throne of Tutankhamun has a lot of WOW!!! This royal chair dates from 1325BC and remains almost as colorful and vibrant as it was when it was new. It is overlaid in pure sheet gold and silver and adorned with semiprecious stones, glaze and colored glass. The throne is a symbol of power, but the scene between Tut and his wife, Ankhesenamum, makes the throne an intimate glimpse into the couple’s everyday life. She seems to be rubbing his arm with something soothing and pleasant.
Finally, check out these boxes….constructed of the finest materials and with the most skilled workmanship….the idea was to last beyond a lifetime…an so they have.
Ahmed stressed that everything was done to ensure that the ressurection of Tut, and others like him, was not left to chance. The five elements of ressurection were always present…Name, Body, Spirit, Soul and Heart. The living did everything they could to ensure that this boy with the enigmatic smile would never die. I’d say they were successful!
Armed with Ahmed and his advice and stories, I was ready for a sailing junket up the Nile to visit more of Egypt’s ancient treasures.
See you all aboard the river ship, Tosca, where I will welcome you to my new home away from home.
Love, the Unseasoned Traveler.