AMARNA: ANCIENT EGYPT’S PLACE IN THE SUN

Shuangzi Hu’16

The exhibit Amarna: Ancient Egypt’s Place in the Sun on October, 26 at the Penn Museum I visited was opened in October in 2007, and is an extended exhibit added to Penn’s original main Egyptian exhibition.
The exhibition has a more modern look in comparison to the other Egyptian galleries at the
Penn Museum which are displayed in the form of an Egyptian temple. The picture above is a
prime example of the older style and shows a hall of a Sphinx along with pillars from an
Egyptian temple in Thebes, the birthplace of the god of the sun, Amun (Ra).

The entrance of the exhibit is adjacent to the hall of Sphinx, with its eye-catching teal wall to the left. By pressing the bottom on the wall, a video about the exhibit is played regarding to the content and overall introduction of the exhibition. The lighting is impressive as the stunning yellow light is stimulates the sunshine (the god Ra in Egyptian mythology), which presents the information about ancient Egypt’s belief that it was under the protection of Ra. The light tells people Ra is present, and the visitors feel his power.
 
 

The content of the exhibition focuses on the kingship of Akhenaten, and his son, Tutankhamen, and the revolution of theology: the change in worship. Akhenaten changed the main god of his dynasty from Amun (who has been the dominant god since old kingdom) to Aten, who was created by Akhenaten. And his son changed the capital of the kingdom from Thebes to Amarna, the city that was ruled by the god Aten. The objects in the exhibit focused on life in Amarna: maps, pottery, images, and worship tools. The timeline of the exhibit ranges from the reign of Akhenaten to the death of Tutankhamen (when he was only 23).
 

Having previously visited the Neues Museum in Berlin, this exhibit of Amarna impressed me a lot. It is a very small-scaled exhibit but contains lots of information, and it is very thoughtfully organized.