King Tut’s Chariot Arrives in Times Square

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As 18th-Dynasty pharaohs’ chariots go, the one that arrived in Times Square on Friday night was not a Mercedes or a Bentley. There was no gold leaf or fine animal-fur interior or richly appointed cartouche-ing. It was more like a teenager’s dragster stripped down for speed, just a lightweight frame of tamarisk, elm and birch, missing only its two-horsepower engine.

Late on Sunday night, in a subterranean exhibition space on West 44th Street, a group of gloved art handlers — under the wary supervision of Sanaa Ahmed Ali, director of the Luxor Museum in Egypt — opened a wooden crate, unpacked the left wheel and slowly slid it onto the axle where it had once turned. An hour later they did the same with the right wheel. Then everyone in the room fell silent for a moment, looking at the result, before breaking into applause.

“Boy, that’s amazing,” said Mark Lach, a senior vice president of Arts and Exhibitions International. “Really just amazing.”

Though there were much fancier ceremonial chariots among the six discovered, in 1922, in the tomb of King Tutankhamen (as his name is often spelled), this one — to be unveiled on Tuesday as a late, crowd-luring addition to “Tutankhamun and the Golden Age of the Pharaohs,” the commercial exhibition of Tut treasures at the Discovery Times Square Exposition — is considered uniquely amazing by scholars because it is the only one that shows signs of wear and tear. So it has long been thought that it was the chariot actually used by the boy king for battle or, more likely, for hunting....

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