A touring exhibition of rare Egyptian artifacts, some unearthed just in recent years, will be coming to the deYoung Museum starting August 20.
It’s called Ramses the Great and the Gold of the Pharaohs, but a large portion of the objects in the exhibition are not directly related to the the pharaoh Ramses II, who ruled Egypt for 67 years and was called Ramses the Great. His tomb was plundered centuries ago, in ancient times, however the exhibit will bring together the colossal royal sculpture of Ramses II, along with some Ramses objects and objects found in other royal tombs of the period, like animal mummies and other treasures excavated in Dahshur and Tanis, and from the Saqqara necropolis near ancient Memphis.
The deYoung is the exclusive West Coast venue for the international touring exhibition.
“Ramses the Great and the Gold of the Pharaohs reveals the power and splendor of ancient Egypt, and expands on the history conveyed within our own ancient art collections,” says Thomas P. Campbell, Director and CEO of the Fine Arts Museums of San Francisco (FAMSF), in a statement. “Once the exhibition completes its international tour, these objects will return to Egyptian museums and will likely not travel again for decades.”
Ramses the Great ruled from 1279 to 1213 BC, as the third pharaoh of the Nineteenth Dynasty of Egypt. He was known as a fierce military leader — and may have been the inspiration for the pharaoh depicted in the Biblical story of Exodus. Ramses was also known for his monumental temples and monuments to himself, including what’s known as the Ramesseum near Qurna.
The exhibition includes 180 objections, including jewelry, funerary objects, mummies, and more.
“Ramses the Great is regarded as as the most celebrated and most powerful pharaoh of the new kingdom,” said Renée Dreyfus, the longtime curator of ancient art for the museums, speaking to the Chronicle’s Datebook. “That was Egypt’s golden age, and that meant that he was overseeing a very wealthy and powerful empire. The exquisite sculpture and the great architecture, the monumental temples that he built to himself and to the gods, were meant for the ages.”
Dreyfus adds that this exhibition includes some high-tech aspects, including drone footage of the actual monument sites and an immersive video room that will give museum-goers a better sense of the scale of the buildings that Ramses had built in his lifetime.
Back in 2009, the deYoung played host to the extremely popular exhibition Tutankhamun and the Golden Age of the Pharaohs, which featured 130 objects, some from the tomb of King Tut — who was part of the previous dynasty before Ramses II, the Eighteenth.
Ramses the Great and the Gold of the Pharaohs opens August 20 and runs through February 12, 2023. Tickets for museum members go on sale June 22, and to the general public July 6.