We have all heard the warnings against disturbing the treasure of the pharaohs.
But while many of the myths an legends surrounding the tombs of ancient Egyptian rulers have been dismissed as simple coincidences, there’s one that’s a bit more troubling.
A pair of trumpets, one made of silver and the other bronze, were among the treasures buried with the boy-king Tutankhamun.
They have just arrived in the UK as part of the Treasures of the Golden Pharaoh exhibition of treasures from Tutankhamun’s tomb at the Saatchi Gallery.
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But visitors have been warned to to try to blow into them.
Hala Hassan, curator of the Tutankhamun collection at the Egyptian Museum, has said that the bronze trumpet has "magical powers" and that "whenever someone blows into it a war occurs”.
The trumpets have been very rarely played since Howard Carter opened Tutankhamun’s tomb in 1922.
Silent for over 3,000 years, the instruments were played before a live radio audience of up to 150 million through a worldwide BBC broadcast in 1939.
An unexpected power failure blacked out lights across Cairo and the concert had to take place by candlelight.
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Rex Keating, who presented the BBC broadcast, said that during rehearsals the silver trumpet cracked and Alfred Lucas, a member of Carter's team who had restored the finds, was so distressed he needed to go to hospital.
Later that year, the world erupted in the bloodiest war in history.
The trumpets have only been played twice since. Once before the Arab-Israeli war of 1967 and then again immediately before the 1991 Gulf War broke out.
“A week before the revolution, during a documenting and photographing process, one of the museum’s staff had blown into it and a week after revolution broke out,” according to Ahram, Egypt’s leading newspaper.
“The same thing had happened before the 1967 war and prior to the 1991 gulf war, when a student was doing a comprehensive research on Tutankhamun’s collection.”
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The bronze trumpet was stolen from the Cairo museum during a riot in 2011, but was mysteriously returned to the museum a few months later.
The instruments are, experts say, too fragile to ever be played again.
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"It is very tempting to want to hear what these instruments would have sounded like, but it's just too dangerous," says Oxford Egyptologist Margaret Maitland.
Perhaps that’s for the best.
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