New Tourism Campaign Celebrates Tutankhamun as Egyptian Pop Icon

To celebrate the hundred-year anniversary of the discovery of the tomb of Tutankhamun by Howard Carter in 1922, the Egyptian Ministry of Tourism and Antiquities launched a tourism campaign that explores the cultural legacy of King Tut as a pop icon. Tutankhamun quickly became known as the boy-king and news of the discovery captured the minds of people over the world, fascinated by the treasures of ancient Egypt and what may still be left to discover buried under the sand. His tomb in Luxor’s Valley of the Kings was amazingly untouched by grave robbers and a treasure trove of 5000 beautiful and extravagant objects was found, which later found themselves touring the world in the 1960s and were greeted by queues of thousands of people eager to see these treasures from ancient Egypt with their own eyes.

Although he died nearly three thousand years ago, few faces are as iconic and recognizable as Tutankhamun’s. Alongside Marylyn Monroe, Albert Einstein, and Elvis Presley, the face of Tutankhamun, as seen from his iconic mask housed in Cairo’s Egyptian Museum, is recognizable worldwide. However, the discovery of Tutankhamun’s also led to a new wave of Egyptomania that found expression in cinema, music, architecture, and even fashion. The 1920s saw American women start a trend of putting on eyeliner in a way to mimic the ancient Egyptian’s use of kohl along with dresses and jewelry styled after some of the treasures from King Tut’s tomb. The 1930s also saw iconic films like “The Mummy” becoming box office hits, inspired by tales of curses put upon ancient Egyptian tombs and the seemingly mysterious death of Howard Carter shortly following his uncovering of the tomb. Comic books jumped on the bandwagon too, with tales of hidden treasures beneath the sand along with cigarette and food brands that used the image of King Tut to sell their products.

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