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EGYPTIAN KING TUT TREASURES

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The Museum of Egyptian Antiquities (Cairo Egyptian Museum) houses King Tut artifacts and burial objects from his 18th Dynasty (1555 B.C. to 1305 B.C.) contemporaries. Stone, faience and wooden pieces from burials before the reign of the Pharaoh King Tut demonstrate the lost burials of other royalty and commoners. Treasures in the King Tut display are between 3,300 and 3,500 years old.

Life of King Tut

King Tutankhamun (also spelled Tutankhamen and Tutankhamon) was born around 1343 B.C. in the Egyptian city of Akhetan, now called Amarna. The ancient Egyptian boy King Tutankhamun was one of the last kings of Egypt's 18th Dynasty.

The father of King Tut was Akhenaten, a pharaoh who was declared a heretic because he started a new religion, which worshiped Aten, banned other gods and shut down their temples. Officials destroyed records mentioning Akhenaten and his successors, so very little is known about Tut's life.

The mother of Egyptian King Tut was most likely Kiya, one of Akhenaten's minor wives. Tut became a pharaoh when he was nine or 10, in 1333 BC.

The name of the young king, originally Tutankhaten, was changed to Tutankhamun, in the third year of his reign, when the king and his court were moved from Amarna to Memphis. Tutankhamun means "the living image of god Amun."

Scholars believe that Tutankhamun married his half-sister, Ankhesenamun, Akhenaten's third daughter by his wife Nefertiti, when he was about 12 years old. Although archeologists found mummified fetuses of two daughters in King Tut's tomb, the couple had no surviving children.

Several old temples were rebuilt and restored in his name. At Karnak, a stela commemorates his work, saying that the temples had "fallen into neglect."

How did King Tut die?

King Tut died under mysterious circumstances in the ninth year of his reign, in 1323 BC. Some Egyptologists believe Tutankhaman was murdered by his successor Ay. A 1968 X-ray showed damage to his skull, which may have been caused by a fall, a blow to the head, or mummification.

King Tutankhamun was buried in the Valley of the Kings. He lay undisturbed for 3,300 years until Howard Carter discovered his tomb in November 1922. The King Tut mummy is still in a stone sarcophagus in his burial chamber, even though the treasures have been removed from his tomb.

King Tut mask

When Howard Carter opened the royal coffin more than 3,300 years after King Tut died, he found a gold crown or diadem on the head of Tut's mummy. Tutankhamun probably wore the crown, inlaid with colored glass and semi-precious stones, when he was alive.

The vulture and cobra, two protective deities, on the front, were removed and placed near the mummy's thighs so the golden face mask could be placed on his head.

King Tut coffin

King Tut had four miniature gold coffins, inlaid with colored glass and semi-precious stones, each in a separate compartment of an alabaster chest. The Viscera Coffin contained his mummified internal organs.

An inscription band on the front names Imseti, a son of Horus, and the goddess Isis, as protector of the deceased and the mummified liver inside. The cartouche encircling the king's name on the inside, originally circled the name of a relative of Tutankhamun.

King Tut artifacts

A bust of Tutankhamun carved from wood, covered in plaster-like gesso and painted, depicts the young with a royal crown with a cobra deity projecting from his forehead. In the painting, the smiling King Tut wears a linen shirt and has pierced earlobes, which were worn by both males and females at this time. Busts like this one were used in religious rituals. The wooden statue could have been a mannequin for displaying King Tut's clothes and jewelry.

A royal calcite bust of Tutankhamun was a stopper for one of the four cylindrical hollows of the canopic chest, which stored the king's mummified organs separate coffinettes. It portrays King Tut wearing the nemes headdress. Red and black paint outlines his facial features and the two protective vulture and cobra deities projecting from his forehead.

One of the 35 ritual figures of King Tut and deities, placed in sealed wooden shrines in his tomb, was a statuette of Tutankhamun wearing the tall crown of Upper Egypt. Made of wood covered in plaster-like gesso and then gilded, the colors represent both rebirth and regeneration. King Tut holds two symbols of his kingship, a crook in his left hand and a flail in his right hand.

A similar golden statuette depicts Tutankhamun wearing the crown of Lower Egypt. He holds a gilded bronze crook and flail and wears gilded bronze sandals. Originally covered in linen and placed within a wooden shrine, the golden statuette stands on a black base.

In the King Tut tomb antechamber, Howard Carter discovered a small wooden chest shaped like an ancient shrine, covered in sheet gold. Carved footprints show where a statuette once stood. The base was plated in sliver. On the insides and outsides of its walls, back and doors, festival, sexuality and coronation scenes show King Tut and his queen.

Egyptian gold jewelry

A golden falcon collar, found on King Tut's mummy was one of several pieces of amuletic jewelry that he wore around his neck. Made from sheet gold, it was cut into the shape of the god Horus, a deity which represented kingship and the solar religion. The falcon has outstretched wings and engraved feathers. A gold wire, attached to the two wings, encloses the collar. A counterweight is suspended from a loop in back.

King Tut's dagger was placed among his mummy wrappings. The highly polished gold blade has engraved details. The gold hilt alternates bands of granulated gold and red and blue glass cloisonné. The top of the pommel surmounting the handle is decorated with a flower design with two cartouches containing Tut's names and two falcons with outstretched wings.

Another tomb artifact is an elaborate gold necklace, decorated with inlaid electrum (a gold, silver and copper alloy), silver, semi-precious stones and colored glass. On the front pectoral and back counterweight, delicate cloisonné openwork shows King Tut with the gods. The straps linking them are double cartouches encircling the names of Tutankhamun, alternating with royal titles, deities and amuletic messages in hieroglyphs. The front plaque is shaped like a shrine, with King Tut standing before Ptah and Sekhmet. The back surface is solid gold with finely engraved details. The counterweight scene depicts King Tut seated before the goddess Maat.

A wooden mirror case, covered in gold and inlaid with semi-precious stones and colored glass, is shaped like an ankh, the Egyptian word for "life." The ankh is also a word that ancient Egyptians used for "mirror." The inlaid jewel hieroglyph spells out King Tut's throne name, and the lotus blossom below represents rebirth. The loop on top of the ankh encircles the name like a cartouche.

Egyptian hieroglyph

A wood ostrich feather fan, overlaid in gold, was found in the tomb burial chamber. Its long handle ends with a papyrus umbel and lunette portraying an ostrich hunt on one side and the hunter returning with ostrich feathers on the other side. A similar fan appears in the hunt scene. King Tut stands in the chariot, ready to shoot ostriches with a bow and arrow, while an ankh, the hieroglyph for the word "life," anthropomorphized with arms and legs, follows behind to shade the pharaoh.

An unguent or cosmetic vessel, carved from calcite, is decorated with sheet gold, colored pigment and colored ivory. A resting lion, with the pharaoh's cartouche near its shoulder, is on the vessel's lid. Four of Egypt's traditional enemies, represented by their heads, are trapped at the base. An image of the god Bes tops two columns and frames two scenes of fighting animals in a band around the middle of the jar.


TRAVEL INFORMATION

Egypt Tourism: www.egypt.travel