In Pictures: A Show Dedicated to Ramses the Great Offers Up Ancient Egyptian Statuary, Glittering Jewelry—and a Virtual-Reality Experience

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A rare show dedicated to the ancient Egyptian ruler Ramses the Great has touched down at San Francisco’s de Young Museum. Titled “Ramses the Great and the Gold of the Pharaohs,” the show presents a glittering trove of more than 180 artifacts that help tell the story of Ramses II and his epic, 67-year rule.

The pharaoh earned his moniker “the Great” for good reason. He reigned during the New Kingdom in the 19th dynasty, which is considered Egypt’s golden age, and he erected statues, temples, monuments, and obelisks and expanded the country’s reach, establishing cities in the Nile delta and beyond. Ramses’s military prowess was documented in reliefs and carvings, and his likeness celebrated in art and architecture. His face is one of the most recognizable of the ancient Egyptians, arguably second only to King Tutankhamen.

Installation view of "Ramses the Great and the Gold of the Pharaohs" at the De Young Museum. Photo courtesy of World Heritage Exhibitions.

Installation view of “Ramses the Great and the Gold of the Pharaohs” at the De Young Museum. Photo courtesy of World Heritage Exhibitions.

The exhibition, which was curated by Egypt’s former minister of antiquities Zahi Hawass and runs through February 12, 2023, offers a brilliant juxtaposition of ancient history and modern technology. Virtual reality components immerse visitors in the world of the 19th dynasty, and photo-murals are projected on the gallery walls in vivid colors. Drone photography and multimedia productions help recreate important scenes from Ramses’s life, including the Battle of Kadesh, thought to be the largest chariot battle ever.

There are also objects that have never before left Egypt, thanks to a collaboration between the Supreme Council of Antiquities of the Arab Republic of Egypt and World Heritage Exhibitions.

Below, see highlights from the exhibition.

Installation view of "Ramses the Great and the Gold of the Pharaohs" at the De Young Museum. Photo courtesy of World Heritage Exhibitions.

Installation view of “Ramses the Great and the Gold of the Pharaohs” at the De Young Museum. Photo courtesy of World Heritage Exhibitions.

Outer coffin of Sennedjem with lid on a wooden sledge Egyptian, New Kingdom, Dynasty 19. Egyptian Museum, Cairo. Photo: Sandro Vannini. Courtesy of the Fine Arts Museums of San Francisco.

Lid from the hawk-headed coffin of Sheshonq II Egyptian, Third Intermediate Period, Dynasty 22. Egyptian Museum, Cairo. Photo: Sandro Vannini. Courtesy of the Fine Arts Museums of San Francisco.

Funerary mask of Wendjebauendjed Egyptian, Third Intermediate Period, Dynasty 21. Egyptian Museum, Cairo. Photo: Sandro Vannini. Courtesy of the Fine Arts Museums of San Francisco.

Installation view of "Ramses the Great and the Gold of the Pharaohs" at the De Young Museum. Photo courtesy of World Heritage Exhibitions.

Installation view of “Ramses the Great and the Gold of the Pharaohs” at the De Young Museum. Photo courtesy of World Heritage Exhibitions.

Installation view of "Ramses the Great and the Gold of the Pharaohs" at the De Young Museum. Photo courtesy of World Heritage Exhibitions.

Installation view of “Ramses the Great and the Gold of the Pharaohs” at the De Young Museum. Photo courtesy of World Heritage Exhibitions.

Upper part of a colossal of Ramses II
Egyptian, Ashmunein, New Kingdom, Dynasty 19. Egyptian Museum, Cairo. Photo: Sandro Vannini. Courtesy of the Fine Arts Museums of San Francisco.

Head of a colossal statue of Ramses II Egyptian, Memphis, temple of Ptah, New Kingdom, Dynasty 19, reworked from a Middle Kingdom king. Egyptian Museum, Cairo. Photo: Sandro Vannini. Courtesy of the Fine Arts Museums of San Francisco.

Installation view of "Ramses the Great and the Gold of the Pharaohs" at the De Young Museum. Photo courtesy of World Heritage Exhibitions.

Installation view of “Ramses the Great and the Gold of the Pharaohs” at the De Young Museum. Photo courtesy of World Heritage Exhibitions.

Installation view of “Ramses the Great and the Gold of the Pharaohs” at the De Young Museum. Photo courtesy of World Heritage Exhibitions.

Heset ewer inscribed for Ahmose I, Egyptian, New Kingdom, Dynasty. Egyptian Museum, Cairo. Photograph by Sandro Vannini Image courtesy of the Fine Arts Museums of San Francisco.

Heset ewer inscribed for Ahmose I
Egyptian, New Kingdom, Dynasty 18 . Egyptian Museum, Cairo. Photo: Sandro Vannini. Courtesy of the Fine Arts Museums of San Francisco.

Installation view of "Ramses the Great and the Gold of the Pharaohs" at the De Young Museum. Photo courtesy of World Heritage Exhibitions.

Installation view of “Ramses the Great and the Gold of the Pharaohs” at the De Young Museum. Photo courtesy of World Heritage Exhibitions.

Installation view of “Ramses the Great and the Gold of the Pharaohs” at the De Young Museum. Photo courtesy of World Heritage Exhibitions.

Installation view of “Ramses the Great and the Gold of the Pharaohs” at the De Young Museum. Photo courtesy of World Heritage Exhibitions.

Installation view of "Ramses the Great and the Gold of the Pharaohs" at the De Young Museum. Photo courtesy of World Heritage Exhibitions.

Installation view of “Ramses the Great and the Gold of the Pharaohs” at the De Young Museum. Photo courtesy of World Heritage Exhibitions.

Installation view of "Ramses the Great and the Gold of the Pharaohs" at the De Young Museum. Photo courtesy of World Heritage Exhibitions.

Installation view of “Ramses the Great and the Gold of the Pharaohs” at the De Young Museum. Photo courtesy of World Heritage Exhibitions.

Installation view of "Ramses the Great and the Gold of the Pharaohs" at the De Young Museum. Photo courtesy of World Heritage Exhibitions.

Installation view of “Ramses the Great and the Gold of the Pharaohs” at the De Young Museum. Photo courtesy of World Heritage Exhibitions.

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