How King Tut conquered pop culture

Published November 1, 2022

11 min read

The world had never seen anything like it. In late 1922, British archaeologist Howard Carter discovered a royal tomb in Egypt’s Valley of the Kings, untouched for 3,300 years and filled with eye-popping bling. The occupant, teenage pharaoh Tutankhamun Nebkheperure—better known these days as King Tut—became an instant media sensation. Newspapers couldn’t get enough of him or his staggering wealth, epitomized by his gleaming, solid gold death mask “of sad but tranquil expression,” according to Carter. As the archaeologist carefully removed and catalogued the gilded contents of his tomb, the young king, who had died at the age of 19 without amounting to much in real life, resurrected into a trend-setting superstar.

(Who was King Tut?)

“There is only one topic of conversa­tion, only one subject animating all men’s minds,” wrote a New York Times correspondent from Luxor in February 1923. “One cannot escape the name of Tut-ankh-Amen any­where. It is shouted in the streets, whispered in the hotels, while the local shops advertise Tut-ankh-Amen art, Tut-ankh-Amen hats, Tut-ankh-Amen curios, Tut-ankh-Amen photographs, and tomorrow probably genuine Tut-ankh-Amen antiquities. Every hotel in Luxor today had something a la Tut-ankh-Amen.”

Read More

Leave a Reply

Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked *