The treats on show focused on the significance and meaning
of the king’s burial items … a few here in the A-Z format …
|Calcite vases on show in exhibition|
A is for Antiquities … the Egyptian Ministry of
Antiquities has over recent decades let museums around the world exhibit
specific treasures – and this one was to commemorate the centennial of
Tutankhamun’s discovery … as well as the construction of his final resting
place in 2022 in the brand new Grand Egyptian Museum, Giza within the Cairo
A is for Ankh – symbol
of life – is an ancient Egyptian hieroglyphic symbol, used in writing and
A is for Akhenaten, Tutankhamun’s father … the Eighteenth
Dynasty of Egypt: family tree here …
B is for Boomerang – some found in the tomb would work
as returning boomerangs, others were decorative … Tutankhamun, as the teen
child he was, loved playing with these …
|Gilded Bow case|
B is for Bows – beautiful gilded wooden compound
working bows with glass, calcite inlays, horn and sinew … there were more than
30 of these, along with 47 older style bows and more than 400 arrows in the
C is for Lord Carnarvon (1866 – 1923) of Highclere
Castle, who had married an illegitimate daughter of millionaire banker Alfred
de Rothschild: his debts were paid off and there was a substantial settlement –
he was an enthusiastic amateur Egyptologist and was able to finance many
|Carnarvon, his daughter and Howard Carter at tomb|
C is for Howard Carter for whom a dream came to pass …
the discovery of Tutankhamun’s tomb and the restoration of his place in
Howard Carter had originally come to Egypt in 1891 as
an artist to copy and paint the colourful scenes in the Middle Kingdom tombs …
at this time the “father of modern Egyptology” was Sir William Flinders Petrie
– who, once that spark of interest in Egyptology had been lit, guided Carter’s
C is for Calcite … calcite alabaster was the kind
primarily used in ancient Egypt …
D is for Dynasties – chronology of Ancient Egyptian
History: pre-dynastic period ca 4400 – 3100 BC;
Tutankhamun’s dynastic period occurs in the New
Kingdom of the 18th, 19th, and 20th dynasties
ca 1550 – 1070 BC.
E is for Eighteenth Dynasty founded by Ahmose 1 (ca 1549
– 1524 BC) – he came to the throne when he was ten, then reigned for over 25
Ahmose’s Eighteenth Dynasty was one of the strongest
to ever rule Egypt. He reorganised the
administration, reopened quarries, mines and trade routes, and began massive
construction projects … determined that Egypt would never again fall prey to
Egypt’s wealth was secured and added to until
Tutankhamen inherited the kingdom where foreign rulers claimed that “gold was like dust” – Egypt was the most
powerful and wealthiest empire of the ancient world, when the Egyptian
civilisation was at its zenith.
|Gold, Lapis, and Carnelian bead bracelet|
with Amethyst scarab clasp
F is for Faience … widely used for small objects from
beads to models found in tomb … all
necessary for the journey into the Afterlife.
F is for Flinders Petrie – the father of modern Egyptology. ‘A Digger’s Life’ … and the Petrie Museum –see my post Sept 2013.
G is for Gold … the illuminating, glinting gold espied
by the flashlights - through that first ‘break’ into the tomb … these ranged in
size from the enormous shrines of gilded wood that surrounded the sarcophagus,
to tiny individual beads.
When Carter and Carnarvon entered the first room
(Antechamber) they encountered this life-size figure of the king …
|This life-size statue -|
wooden guardian statue
of the Ka of the King
(found in the Antechamber)
H is for Herwer (Horus the Elder) ... a falcon headed
deity found in a wooden box in the form of a shrine in the Treasury.
H is for Hieroglyphics - the formal writing system
used in Ancient Egypt. A cartouche is an oval with a line at one
end at right angles to the oval … indicating that the text enclosed is a royal
|Calcite vase with hieroglyphics|
I is for Ivory – ebony and ivory inlays are very
Egyptian and used in many of the items found in the tomb, including child-sized
furniture … an armchair, a lion-shaped ritual bed, boxes …
|A child's armchair|
found in tomb
J is for Jewellery … all forms of unimaginable items …
amethyst, faience, glass, gold leaf, ebony, ivory, cedar, lapis lazuli,
carnelian, turquoise, obsidian, green feldspar, electrum (gold and silver alloy
– green gold), travertine, resin …
|Pectoral, Chain, and |
Counterpoise with Lapis
Scarab flanked by Uraei
K is for King and KV – is the standard Egyptological
designation of each tomb – KV62 - for the young pharaoh Tutankhamun’s tomb in
the Valley of the Kings.
L is for Tutankhamun Lying Peacefully undisturbed in
his nest of coffins for over 3,000 years … the young golden pharaoh.
|Howard Carter examining|
Tutankhamun's innermost coffin -
it was solid gold, with his gilded
embalmed body within -
L is for Lotus … the white lotus blossoms open at
night, associating it with the moon and the sun.
Around the cups run the hieroglyphic signs proclaim a well
wish for the king’s ka (his life
force, which persisted after death).
|Ay performing the Opening|
of the Mouth Ceremony
M is for the Opening of the Mouth Ceremony … an
essential for the Mummy so it could breathe and speak in the afterlife … the
Book of the Dead contains a spell for this process … more information can be found here
M is for Maat – the ancient Egyptian concepts of
truth, balance, order, harmony, law, morality and justice. Maat was the goddess who personified these
concepts, and regulated the stars, seasons, and the actions of mortals and the
deities who had brought order from chaos at the moment of creation.
N is for the River Nile – where cultures rose and
flourished, until one king ruled the entire Nile valley from the first cataract
at Aswan to the Mediterranean … the first pharaoh had emerged.
N is for the Netherworld … the Afterlife … the realm
of the dead in ancient Egyptian mythology.
Nefertiti – ruled after her husband’s death before her
step-son, Tutankhamun inherited on her death.
O is for Oils – perfumed oils essential for rituals
were highly valued … as they were pressed from plants or steeped in liquids and
fats for prolonged periods … the art of distillation was not known.
|Tutankhamun's Perfume Oil|
jar - symbolising the Unions
of Upper and Lower -
made of alabaster (calcite)
O is for Ostriches … hunted by Tutankhamun in his
chariot; they were an important bird - for their feathers and eggs were prized
as luxury items. It was a royal sport
that allowed the king to demonstrate his control over nature. The Egyptian pharaohs were also known to hunt
hippopotamus in the Nile.
|Gilded Wooden "Ostrich Hunt" Fan|
P is for Pharaoh – the common title now used for the
monarchs of ancient Egypt from the First Dynasty (c 3150 BC) until the
annexation of Egypt by the Roman Empire in 30 BCE.
P is for Pschent – the double crown worn by rulers in
ancient Egypt – representing the pharaoh’s power over all of unified Egypt.
|It combined the White|
Hedjet Crown of Upper
Egypt and the Red
of Lower Egypt
Q is for Queen Ankhesenamun (ca 1348 – after 1322 BC),
who was the daughter of Pharaoh Akhenaten and his Great Royal Wife Nefertiti,
and who became the Great Royal Wife of her half-brother Tutankhamun.
R is for Rituals – through a series of rituals
performed in the temple of Amun at Karnak, the young prince was transformed
into the king of Egypt, the living Horus, representative of the gods on earth.
The forces behind the decisions regarding the young
king were the adults in the royal court.
R is for Religious calendar … this kept the court on
the move throughout the country … as well as royal duties, the young king and
his wife would have had time to boat, play board games, drive chariots, hunt …
he did not allow his deformed foot, nor his scoliosis, to interfere with his
|Miniature Board Games box|
R is for the foremost Responsibility of an Egyptian king
– that of maintaining ‘maat’ – see ‘M’ above.
S is for Spells to help with the transition on death
through the underworld … Afterlife Texts as they are tended to be known … or
Ancient Egyptian funerary texts …
T is for Tutankhamun’s Tomb and Treasures – it’s been
fascinating to learn about the tomb, its rooms and treasures …
U is for Unbelievable exhibition exquisitely put
together … displaying on the walls a fantastic show of art found in the tombs,
projecting relevant notations for us …
V is for Valley of the Kings … where for nearly 500
years from the 16th to 11th century BC, rock –cut tombs
were excavated for the pharaohs and powerful nobles of the New Kingdom
(Eighteenth – Twentieth Dynasties of Ancient Egypt). The valley contains at least 63 tombs …
W is for the “Wondrous Things”: that Carter and
Carnarvon saw illuminated through the hole they had bored to see into the tomb.
|Gilded Wooden and Ivory|
Pen Case in the form of a
column inlaid with glass
W is for items related to Writing that were found in
the tomb. The gilded wooden and ivory
pen case, inlaid with glass, would have stored reed pens.
Being able to write, and read, ensured the deceased
access to the magical tests required to travel safely in the netherworld.
X is for x facts: 5,366 objects excavated, recorded,
conserved and transported.
These exquisite precious items, imported woods, linen,
leather, petals, leaves, and ore … all crammed into the entrance passageway and
the four chambers known as the Antechamber, Burial Chamber, Treasure, and
Y is for years – five of them when Carter searched for
the tomb, ‘unravelling’ the rubble over the site – every item found was photographed
in situ and recorded; a further three years was spent similarly photographing,
recording every item from each part of the tomb.
|Tutankhamun ready for hunting -|
see boomerangs in background
(from LA exhibition 2019)
Y is for being so young – he needed the assistance of
experienced courtiers, many of whom had served his father and even his
grandfather – to rule for his short tenure.
He was buried with a solid gold coffin, face mask, thrones, archery bows, trumpets, a lotus chalice, two Imuit fetishes, gold toe stalls, furniture, food, wine, sandals, and fresh linen underwear ... and more ...
Z is for Zahi Hawass – who is the world’s foremost
Egyptologist. He has been and continues
to be instrumental in all things about Tutankhamun and his family … including
this spectacular exhibition that I saw in early 2020:
|The Golden Mask - did not travel|
out of Egypt for this exhibition
Saatchi Gallery's exhibition site in London early 2020 - there are some beautiful photos here (unfortunately no longer available) ... worth having a look at - the 'Wooden Guardian statue of the KA of the King'; the Gilded Wooden "Ostrich Hunt" Fan; photos of the tomb as it appeared at various stages; treasures, and faience ...
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