The Boy King’s Journey through the Underworld
Tutankhamun’s royal voyage into paradise, as told by ancient Egyptian treasures
Buried in the 14th century BC but unearthed by Howard Carter in 1922, the objects entombed with Tutankhamun are an invaluable window into a long-extinct belief system. Seen today, they create an intricate picture of how the ancient Egyptian people viewed the perilous journey to paradise, a utopian Egypt that could only be entered following the final judgment.
When acclaimed photographer Sandro Vannini started his work in Egypt in the late ’90s, a technological revolution was about to unfold. Emerging technologies enabled him to document murals, tombs, and artifacts in unprecedented detail. Using the time-consuming and strenuous multi-shot technique, Vannini produced complete photographic reproductions that revealed colors in their original tones with vivid intensity. Through these extraordinary images, we discover the objects’ quintessential features alongside the sophisticated and cleverly hidden details.
In collaboration with a series of international exhibitions, starting with King Tut: Treasures of the Golden Pharaoh at the California Science Center in March 2018, this comprehensive guide marks the centenary of Carter’s first excavations in the Valley of the Kings. These inestimable works endure through Vannini's photographs in their full, timeless splendor.
From offerings and rituals to Osiris and eternal life, Vannini’s portfolio covers all facets of ancient Egyptian culture—but it is Tutankhamun’s unique legacy that dominates these images. With texts by the photographer, captions by specialist Mohamed Megahed, and chapter introductions from scholars in the field, King Tut. The Journey through the Underworld puts much-debated mysteries to rest. The learned yet accessible forewords come from distinguished Egyptologists including Salima Ikram and David P. Silverman. Insightful narratives, resplendent images, and a contemporary standpoint make this title a fitting tribute to the Boy King’s odyssey, illuminating an epoch that spanned an unimaginable 4,000 years.
“I have always cultivated the illusion of taking away a piece of the soul of ancient Egypt with my photos, to have it travel elsewhere and to preserve it forever.”
— Sandro Vannini
Sandro Vannini started his career as a photographer in 1982, and today lives and works between Italy and Egypt. Active in the latter since 1997, and with special permission to access sites forbidden to the public, he has compiled an extensive visual archive of ancient Egyptian culture. Along the way, he first pioneered techniques that enable the use of leading digital photography in the extreme temperatures in the Valley of the Kings. Vannini’s photographs are among those assisting the work of the Egyptian Museum in Cairo in the restoration of artifacts. Since 2016, he has been directing and producing television programs and documentary series in collaboration with Zahi Hawass, and is also the author of several books.