28 April–25 July 2022

In the 8th century BC, in Nubia, a kingdom grew up around the capital in Napata. Around 730 BC, the sovereign Piankhy set out to conquer Egypt, thus giving birth to a line of Kushite pharaohs. Shebitku, Shabaka, Taharqa and Tanutamun, his successors of the 25th Dynasty, reigned for more than 50 years over a kingdom that stretched from the confluence of the While and Blue Niles all the way to the Nile Delta. The most famous of them was, without a doubt, Taharqa.

The exhibition tells the epic story of the conquest of a vast valley, followed by defeat at the hands of the Assyrians. It highlights the importance of a once-mighty and far-reaching kingdom located in what is today northern Sudan and what was, in antiquity, the gateway to Africa.

By launching this exhibition, rich in hieroglyphics, in 2022, the Musée du Louvre celebrates the bicentenary of the deciphering of this ancient Egyptian script by Champollion. ‘Pharaoh of the Two Lands’ picks up where ‘Meroe, an Empire on the Nile’ – an exhibition presented at the Louvre in 2010 – left off. Indeed, it is organised in connection with the archaeological excavations carried out by the museum in Sudan, which for ten years focused on the site of Muweis. Now, attention will be turned to El-Hassa, 19 miles to the north, not far from the pyramids of Meroe.

Exhibition curators: Vincent Rondot, director of the Department of Egyptian Antiquities, Musée du Louvre, assisted by Nadia Licitra, Faïza Drici and Hélène Guichard.

King Taharqa and the falcon god Hemen, Department of Egyptian Antiquities, Musée du Louvre ©Musée du Louvre / Christian Décamps