Exhibit Information

Metropolitan Museum of Art

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HAREMHAB: The General Who Became Pharaoh

Opening: 16 November 2010 - Closing: 4 July 2011

The Centerpiece of this small-scale show at the Met is the seated-statue of a Scribe, long on-view on the way to the Temple of Dendur—which one hopes the Met won’t have to give back to Egypt!


Actually, the Met earned the Temple, which was going to disappear anyway under the waters backed-up by the Aswan-High-Dam. It also cost a lot to construct that impressive Glass-House in which to show it off.


Recently—in the very space that now enshrines the Scribe—the Met mounted an exhibition dealing with King Tut’s Funerary-Preparations. All those objects that actually came from King-Tutankhamun’s-Tomb will now be returned to Egypt. But more of that later…


For the Record: Haremhab [ca. 1316–1302 BCE] was a strong leader in a time of Political & Religious-Transition.


As Commander-in-Chief of Tutankhamun's Army, he oversaw important Military-Campaigns at the border with Nubia & in the Levant. Later—as the last King of Dynasty 18—Haremhab instituted laws that secured the Rights of Civilians & curbed Abuses by powerful groups, including the Army.


The Scribe-Statue was created before Haremhab became Pharaoh, while he was still a General. He was never actually a Scribe: this is only Symbolic, to show he was an Administrator & a Wise-Man. [But not one of the Magi, those Wise-Men who came out of the East, seeking Christ, much, much later…]


The show features some 70 additional objects in various Media—Wall-Reliefs, Works on Papyrus, Statuettes, & Garment-Fragments—from the Metropolitan, with the addition of a Pivotal-Loan from the Louvre & another from a New York Private-Collection


Haremhab's statue shows him in the Scribal-Pose, seated on the ground with his legs crossed. Across his knees is a Papyrus-Scroll on which is written a Hymn to Thoth, the God of Scribes.


In his right hand—now missing—he probably held a reed, the pen of ancient Egyptians. A shell of ink lies on his left knee. Over his left shoulder is a strap, with a miniature Scribe's-Kit at each end.


A figure of the God Amun is incised on his forearm. Although his face is youthful, the folds on his belly suggest the torso of an older, wiser man. He is attired in an ornately-pleated Tunic, & a broad Shawl is wrapped around his hips.


A prayer to Ptah, the God of Creation, is inscribed on the statue's base. By choosing to be depicted in this way, Haremhab—the leader of the Pharaoh's Army—declares himself to be both Literate & Pious.


Weapons & a Chariot-Model illustrate the Wars that dominated the period. A Stela shows a Procession in which Priests carry the Shrine of Amun. Inscriptions indicate that a movement of the God's Processional-Shrine was interpreted as an Oracle that made Haremhab Pharaoh.


A prolific builder, Haremhab began construction of the Great Hypostyle-Hall at Karnak. He also usurped buildings originally erected & decorated by his two Post-Amarna predecessors, Tutankhamun & Aya.


During Haremhab's lifetime—both as General & Pharaoh—Egypt's struggles with the Hittites of Anatolia began, so his Military-Encounters set the tone for ancient Egypt's Foreign-Relations for a century to come, benefitting both great Pharaohs Seti I & Ramesses II.


As for King Tut’s & the Met’s 19 left-over-objects from Howard Carter’s opening of that fabulous Tomb, they supposedly should never have left Egypt. But who was monitoring such matters then…


Dr. Zahi Hawass—who inaugurated the King-Tut-Exhibition midtown at the Discovery-Center—is now including the Met’s 19 in the Discovery show. When that closes, the 19 will return to the Met, but only for Six-Months!


After that, they fly off to Cairo, temporarily to be on-view in the Tut-Galleries of the Egyptian-Museum. But, in 2012, they will be installed—along with the other magnificent Tut-Keepsakes in Cairo & on Tut-Tour—in the new Grand-Egyptian-Museum at Giza. Virtually in the shadow of the Great Pyramid of Giza!


Dr. Hawass has noted that he originally proposed the current Tut-Show to the Met, but he required a Multi-Million-Dollar Co-payment that would help with Construction-Costs of the new Museum-Venue.


As the Met has its own Financial-Problems, this offer was turned-down.


But 2012 will surely encourage a Flood of Tourists in Cairo, on the Nile, & out at Giza! Your chance to see the restored Sphinx as well…

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