Leaving their homeland for the first time, over 150 masterpieces from ancient Egypt are currently on display in a stunning exhibition at the Grimaldi Forum
Ancient Egyptian royalty and the art of goldsmithery are synonymous. Who would not immediately associate the country by the Nile with lavishly decorated death masks or ornate jewelry? L’Or des Pharaons, a spectacular temporary exhibition at Monaco’s Grimaldi Forum takes the visitor back in time, plunging them straight into the heart of the pharaonic era.
“L’Or des Pharaons (The Gold of the Pharaohs)” is a tribute to the refinement of Egyptian civilization and the skills of its craftsmen, conveying all the splendor of royal and princely tombs from the Early Dynastic Period (about 3000 BC) to the middle of the Third Intermediary Period (about 850 BC). Expertly curated by Christiane Ziegler, the undisputed authority in her specialty, and with input from leading European museums, this is an invitation to discover the sheer power of gold in Ancient Egypt. The high point of the exhibition is undoubtedly the treasures of the city of Tamis, as fabulous as those of Tutankhamun, and shown here in Monaco before their definitive installation in the new section of the museum of Cairo.
Beyond presenting sumptuous and uniquely rare artifacts like jewels, vases, bracelets, pendants, goldsmith belts, ornate mirrors, necklaces, sarcophagi, funerary masks and gold-plated furniture, the exhibit also illustrates their discovery and narrates their history.
From the third millennium BC, Egyptians knew how to work gold, precious metals and semi-precious stones. They had a rather optimistic conception of the afterlife, hoping to prolong their life on earth after death. Pharaohs were thus buried with jewels, symbols of prestige, markers of their social rank and possessing a protective power. This gave rise to great craftsmanship, working with precious metals like gold, silver and copper, and gems like lapis lazuli, red jasper and turquoise. These treasures had a symbolic value, bearing powers directly associated with the importance of the afterlife in Egyptian culture.
With its focus on the goldsmith’s craft, this exhibit is the first one to examine the stages and techniques of the production of jewels used by Egyptians, their supply sources, and the manufacturing chain from the modest miner to the pharaoh who owed all these riches via the jewelers, scribes, expedition leaders.
The 2,500 sq.m. exhibition is a chronological travel through the history of Ancient Egypt, marked by the discovery of treasures by archaeologists or tomb robbers. Punctuated by statues of sovereigns to mark specific eras, it revisits the Early Dynastic Period, the Old, Middle and New Kingdoms, and the treasure of Tanis, ascribed to the Third Intermediate Period, and finally allows the visitor a sneak peek into the work of the Egyptologist and archaeologists who discovered and preserved the treasures.
The exhibit L’Or des Pharaons runs through September 9.
Opening hours: Open every day from 10 am to 8 pm, late night opening: Thursdays until 10 pm
Full price = €11, with concessions for students, seniors, and SNCF ticket holders. FREE for children under 18.
Guided tours Thursdays and Sundays at 2.30 pm and 4.30 pm subject to availability (maximum 25 people)
Booking: Tel. +377 99 99 3000 / E-mail: online ticketing : firstname.lastname@example.org or click on button below, and FNAC points of sale.
L’Or des Pharaons
10, av. Princesse Grace
Tel: +377 99 99 3000
All photos courtesy and © Natja Igney, all rights reserved; video courtesy Grimaldi Forum