The intact tomb of King Tutankhamun was found in 1922 by Howard Carter within the Valley of Kings. King Tut, the Boy King, would have been relegated to relative obscurity, reigning Ancient Egypt for a mere 10 years, with out the discovery of his tomb. The everlasting picture of King Tut’s mask has been seen world wide and has come to symbolize the Ancient Egyptian civilization, as iconic as the pyramids themselves.
The mask protected the pinnacle of the mummy of Tutankhamun. It presents us with a phenomenal, albeit idealized, portrait of the young King. Its purpose was to allow his soul to recognize his mummy and to re-enter it. Protection was assured by a magic system engraved on the shoulders and the back of the mask.
The same old Nemes headdress knotted back on the nape of the neck is a striped blue-green imitating Lapis Lazuli, a semi-treasured stone present in Afghanistan. The headdress golden stripes are of strong gold. On the forehead of the mask are a royal Uraeus (a rearing cobra) and a vulture’s head, symbols of the 2 patron deities of Decrease and Higher Egypt; Wadjet and Nekhbet, each defending the King, in gold inlaid with semi-valuable stones and coloured glass. The mask’s eyes are fabricated from obsidian and quartz with a touch of pink at the corners: the cosmetic strains and the lids are of inlaid blue glass.
The divine beard, plaited and turned up at the top, is of Cloisonn work (colored glass held in a framework of gold.) The extensive necklace collar is formed of rows of Lapis Lazuli, quartz, amazonite and coloured glass beads hooked up at every shoulder to a gold falcon’s head (representing Horus) ornamented with obsidian. All of this supposed to guard the King in his journey to the afterlife. This fabulous mask is held on the Egyptian Antiquities Museum in Cairo when not touring the world.
Historic Egyptians believed their Pharaohs dwell on if their names are remembered. If that is true then a younger boy born circa 3000 years ago could outlive all of them.
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