An exhibition entitled “Toutankhamon et son temps” was held in Paris from 17 February to 4 September 1967. The exhibition set a world record in the history of international exhibitions as it received about 1.2 million visitors. That year witnessed a strong rapprochement in Egyptian-French relations as French archaeological missions returned to resume their work in Egypt.
In the same year, the Centre Franco-Égyptien d’Étude des Temples de Karnak was established. President of France, at the time, Charles de Gaulle sent a letter to President Gamal Abdel Nasser requesting the organization of an exhibition to showcase the treasures of Tutankhamun in Paris. The exhibition was supervised by the Minister of Culture of France, André Malraux, and the Egyptian Minister of Culture, Dr. Tharwat Okasha, who entrusted the selection of pieces and the supervision of the exhibition to the French archaeologist Christiane Desroches Noblecourt and the Director General of the Egyptian Museum in Cairo Dr. Mohamed Hassan Abdel Rahman. They approved 45 of the king’s treasures for display, including his golden mask which was to be displayed for the first-time outside Egypt.
Prior to the inauguration of the exhibition, Dr. Mohamed Hassan Abdel Rahman submitted a request to the French medical associations to x-ray the golden mask, a technology that was newly invented in France at the time. It was intended to obtain a clear image of the mask and its dimensions from the inside in order to monitor any changes that may occur to it during the exhibition period, in addition to examining how to manufacture that mask in particular due to the skill of ancient Egyptian goldsmiths who did not use internal soldering techniques. This industrial technique is unprecedented in the art of metalworking in ancient Egypt. These x-rays remained in the collection of Dr. Mohamed Hassan Abdel Rahman, then their ownership was transferred to the archaeological researcher Francis Amin. In coordination between the Antiquities Museum at the Bibliotheca Alexandrina and the Italian Embassy in Cairo, the x-rays were donated to the museum to become one of its unique and rare holdings.