This temporary exhibition, originally created and put together by the RMN and co-organized by the Louvre Museum, the Royal Museum of Art and History of Brussels, and the Egyptian Museum of Turin in Italy is taking place in Paris' Louvre Museum from 19th April to 22nd of July 2002.
Deir el Medineh: the Artisans of the Pharaohs
Ancient Egypt has a very special link with modern civilization, and the current exhibition in Paris brings to life this connection in concentrating on art objects from the site of a fascinating Egyptian village that was inhabited by artists and craftsmen in the service of the great pharaohs of the 'New Empire' from Thutmose I to Rameses XI, covering the Eighteenth, Nineteenth and Twentieth Dynasties (c. 1525-1085 BC). This special link is used as a leitmotiv to show how a common cultural trunk is shared like a cybernetic tree system of human intelligence and creativity.
Since it is over three thousand years later and we can see that a large portion of our know-how derives directly from the discoveries and inventions of this or an even more remote past the current exhibition is a living proof one is driven to think that this know-how cannot go back merely a few thousand years but more likely tens of thousands of years, judging by the extent of the numerous discoveries in every field and the level of advancement and refinement reached already in that period of Egyptian history.
Very often the ancient civilization of Egypt has been depicted as a remote culture with strange and complicated gods and goddesses, deified kings and queens, and a whole nation mostly dedicated to the cult of the afterlife, engaged mainly in the building and decoration of royal tombs. This is understandable because history is full of examples where conquerors muddied the waters of history to take the credit for achievements. And it is only quite recently that man has been concerned with getting to the truth through scientific investigation. So when the truth is unveiled, as it is in this exhibition, you are surprised with the vivacity of these people who had such an admirable art of living that is expressed both in the refinement of their artistic design and in the highly efficient and coordinated organization of their society and workplace.
Deir el Medineh owed its existence to the choice of Thebes (Luxor) in Upper Egypt as the capital of the New Kingdom by the kings of the Eighteenth Dynasty (no doubt since organized resistance against the Hyksos invaders started there and gave rise to the new Dynasty and Kingdom) and also to the founding of the Valley of the Kings as their new necropolis (perhaps inspired by the natural pyramidal mountains that made the site safe and inaccessible to looters). The village itself had no water source of its own, perhaps also with a view to keeping the workers separate from the general population because they were privy to too many secrets.
Read further on Deir el Medineh: the Artisans of the Pharaohs
Les Artistes de Pharaon : Deir-el-Médineh et la Vallée des Rois
From 19th April to 22nd July 2002
Musée du Louvre
Entrance through the 'Pyramide du Louvre'
Phone 33 (0)1 40 20 51 51
Open: every day 9:00 to 17:30
Mondays and Wednesdays until 21:30
Price: 7.50 Euros before 15:00;
5.00 Euros after 15:00 and Sundays.
Comissaire: Guillemette Andreu, Musée du Louvre
Catalog of the Exhibition with 328 pages, 170 color plates, R.M.N: 39 Euros.