Wednesday, March 31, 2010

this charming girl...episode 6

golden girls & the boy King

6. ~ tutankhamun's golden burial mask
like many i've always been fascinated by the ancient Egyptians ~ the mystery surrounding the great pyramids (a true wonder of the world), their rituals & preparations for the afterlife, their beautiful & sacred hieroglyphs and of course, all that gold buried in desert valley tombs...

since i was a small girl i have longed to travel to Egypt ~ i have visited many museums solely to see Egyptian exhibits ~ and have been stopped in my tracks everytime, to stare in wonder at the pieces that are so perfectly carved or intricately made that it makes it almost unimaginable that it was created many thousands of years ago!

London, England
has the iconic 
which was the  
discovery that 
unlocked the

the Louvre in
Paris, France.

The amazing treasures
are lined up like the
stoic Sphinx like statues
amongst their many

golden highlights ~ the beautifully formal hieroglyphs, exquisitely carved armies of turquoise shabtis  (servant statuettes) & the gilded sarcophagus of an Egyptian princess.

 then in 2005, i was fortunate enough to make that trip of a lifetime...

first stop ~ the sun scorched valley of the kings

 i have never experienced such intense dry heat & blinding sunshine, a sharp contrast to the tiny, dark, steep tunnels that wound their mysterious way down into the rock & sand, to the inner sanctums of the Royal Pharaohs tombs.
the mummy of Tutankhamun rests here ~ earlier that year, he had been removed for a CT scan to try to establish why this legendary boy King's life & reign ended so soon.
 subsequent DNA test results were published in february this year (2010) showing Tutenkhamun died from malaria & a bone disease, ending many years of speculation & learned arguments.
he will not be disturbed again for fear of irreversible damage so he can finally rest in peace once more.

Luxor temple is a vast temple complex located on the east bank of the river Nile..

here stands a towering red granite obelisk,
like a giant needle piercing the clear blue sky.
it was originally one of a pair ~ the other is now at 
the Place de la Concorde, in Paris.

the tour continued ~ the stunning temple of Hatshepsut which appears to rise up out of the desert (sadly now infamous for the tragic terrorist attack where 70 people including tourists, guide & policemen were shot in 1997) and the mind blowing Karnak temple, with it's forest of giant carved pillars that were the backdrop for a  spectacular  scene in the Agatha Christie film 'Death on the Nile'. (spot my good friend & travelling companion Helen, to get an idea of the sheer scale of the columns!)

we then took the overnight train from Luxor to Cairo ~ what an experience!
there was certainly no first class and we were thrown from our tiny, fold down bunks as we hurtled along through the blackness between these great cities.
the next morning the bruises were forgotten as we were privileged to catch a glimpse of simple Egyptian village life as we rolled through at a more leisurely pace...

...finally Cairo.
nothing can prepare you for that first glimpse of the Great Pyramids at Giza ~ they are literally right next to the noisy, dusty but magnificently manic streets of down-town.
one minute you're surrounded by traffic, huge crowds & unfamiliar scents & sounds ~ then
they just materialize, like an mirage in the desert.
they are breath taking.
unbelievably, we are told by our guide that an opera house is being built close by (you can just see it in the top photo)
and that there are no building restrictions or conservation laws to
prevent the rapid city growth spilling outwards & onto the very foot of these sacred monuments.

the most famous temple guardian - the Great Sphinx
a mythical figure of a recumbent lion with a human head.

the physical presence of the Great Pyramid was humbling.
 for once we were speechless...

another dream come true!

we got to gallop across the desert sands around the Pyramids, 
on highly spirited Arabian horses
Lawrence of Arabia, eat your ♥ out...

...mind you, not so sure we could out run the local mounted police!

last but by no means least - Cairo museum which houses the ultimate golden treasure chest that is the Tutenkhamun collection of artifacts.

understandably no cameras are allowed inside to prevent damage to these precious pieces which are so packed in, it's almost information overload ~ gods, goddesses, deities and glistening gold at every turn.
it's here you come face to face with the
extraordinary burial mask of the world's most celebrated Pharaoh.
there's a definite hush as the queue, to gaze directly into his eyes (made from quartz and obsidian)
shuffles forward.

image kindly provided by Jon Bodsworth

it was the perfect end to an exhausting but life changing trip.
if you ever get the chance to go, don't hesitate. the meantime though you can catch a taste of the splendor of the golden boy King Tut & the Great Pharaohs as an exhibition of some of the Tutenkhamun collection travels the globe.
it's currently at the Art Gallery of Ontario, in Toronto until April 18th, 2010.

...or you can indulge in some luxury bathing with my 'golden girl' handmade soap
inspired by all those golden memories ♥

drift back in time along the golden nile, to the valley of the queens of egypt. 
enjoy the warm mysterious scent of amber, vanilla, lavender & black myrrh with a hint of egyptian musk. 
behind every great pharaoh is the golden goddess  ~ Isis.

Golden Girl is a luxurious soap, enveloped in a light dusting of shimmering gold and is embossed with classic hieroglyphic symbols & amulets plus a little scarab beetle
the sacred ancient Egyptian symbol of rebirth & good fortune.

1 comment:

  1. Great post, and great way to introduce your golden soap! I was so excited on my first visit to the BM I could hardly contain myself. And a trip to Egypt is a long held dream of mine. You're so lucky!