2012/04/15

Queen Hetepheres I Sledge

 Queen Hetepheres I Sledge




 This Wooden sledge coated with gold belonged to Queen Hetepheres  the wife of the king Sneferu and the mother of King Khufu .

Queen Hetepheres I may have been a daughter of pharaoh Huni. Her title God's Daughter suggests she was the daughter of a king and the most likely candidate is Huni, the predecessor of Sneferu. Her titles include: King’s Mother (mwt-niswt), Mother of the Dual King (mwt-niswt-biti), Attendant of Horus (kht-hrw), God’s Daughter of his body (s3t-ntr-nt-kht.f).
Hetepheres was the wife of the king Sneferu and the mother of King Khufu. It is possible that Hetepheres was only a minor wife of Sneferu and only rose in prominence after her son ascended the throne. She was the grandmother of Kings Djedefre and Khafra and Queen Hetepheres II.


Squatting Figure of a King

 Squatting Figure of a King


In the absence of a written attribution, it is not possible to identify with certainty the king whom this little solid gold figure represents. Howard Carter, whose opinion has been generally accepted, thought it was a statuette of Amenhotpe III (c. 1386-1349 B.C.). His identification was based on the circumstances of the discovery. It was placed, wrapped in linen, in a small gilded coffin, and with it were two smaller coffins, one fitting inside the other, the innermost of which not only bore the name of Amenhotpe III's wife, Queen Teye, but also contained a lock of her auburn hair. Carter supposed that the figure and the lock of hair were buried with Tutankhamun as heirlooms, because he was the last direct successor of Amenhotpe III.

Carter's theory, however, seems to attach too little importance to the evidence offered by the inscriptions on both the coffin within which the figure was placed and an outermost coffin of wood coated with black resin. In both the king named is Tutankhamun himself; no mention of Amenhotpe III occurs on any item in the equipment. It appears more probable, therefore, that the figure represents Tutankhamun. Some support for this identification may be gained from the fact that the lobes of the ears are pierced for earrings, a feature that is rare in representations of kings before Akhenaton.

Squatting Figure of a King

Nothing in the king's dress or accouterments is indicative of the purpose of the figure. It is obvious, however, that it was intended to be worn as a pendant. On his head is the khepresh crown with erect cobra, or uraeus, a royal headdress that was worn in many different circumstances: in battle, in religious and secular ceremonies, and in private life. Apart from the headdress, he wears only a glass bead necklace and a kilt with the regular apron in front. In his right hand he holds the crook and flail, symbols of his title to the throne of Osiris; his left hand rests on his knee. At the back of the neck is a loop for the gold suspension chain, shown with the figure. Instead of a clasp, linen cords with tassels were attached to the chain for fastening the necklace.

Egyptian kings and nobles are often shown on monuments wearing necklaces with pendants, but as a rule the pendants have an amuletic character. A squatting king is exceptional iconographically and its underlying conception is not obvious. At first sight the pose suggests that the king is represented as the infant sun-god emerging from the flower of the lotus that grew in the primordial waters at the time of the creation of the universe. But the lotus was a vital element in the portrayal of that episode and it would certainly not have been omitted by the artist if his intention had been to commemorate it. Furthermore the king, although young in appearance (as would be expected in a representation of Tutankhamun) is clearly not a newborn child.

Artistic convention for many centuries before the time of Tutankhamun had decreed that kings, unless they were engaged in one of the recognized royal activities such as hunting, warfare, or religious ceremonies, should be portrayed either standing or seated on the throne. Even before the end of Amenhotpe III's reign, however, conventional styles were undergoing notable changes and the process developed into a revolution under Tutankhamun's predecessor, Akhenaton. In a restrained form some of the innovations of the Amarna period were continued by Tutankhamun. This figure may well owe its inspirations to the new school and may possess no particular symbolical significance.


Tutankhamun Bracelet

 Flexible Head Bracelet of Tutankhamun



Thirteen bracelets were placed on the forearms of Tutankhamun's mummy, seven on the right and six on the left. Apart from these thirteen, there were other bracelets among the mummy wrappings and elsewhere in the tomb. This bracelet was placed on the right forearm, near the elbow. It's band is composed of nine rows of gold, faience, and glass beads threaded between six gold spacer bars that resemble the gold beads and keep the nine rows in position.

Tutankhamun Bracelet

The clasp, which is like a pegged mortise and tenon joint, consists of three members : a hollow bar with a central slot, attached to one end of a gold cloison inlaid with a carnelian udjat eye, a cylindrical tenon that projects from the terminal at the free end of the band and fits into the slot, and a removable gold pin to hold the tenon in the slot. On the back of the cloison there is the inscription "Lord of the Two Lands, image of Ra, Nebkheperura, ruler of order, given life like Ra for ever and ever." The engraver has inverted the signs for the Two Lands. It is exceptional, but not without parallel, to find the epithet "ruler of order" after the king's throne name.

Both the eye and the cloison have figures of an uraeus with the double crown at the end opposite to the clasp. The udjat eye consists of a human eye and eyebrow to which are added the markings on a falcon's head; it is thus symbolical of both Horus, the son of Osiris and Isis, who is represented in human form, and the sky-god named Horus, who is represented either as a falcon or as a man with a falcon's head. The word udjat means "sound, healthy" and it was used by the ancient Egyptians as a name for the eye that Horus had lost when fighting with the god Seth to avenge the murder of Osiris.

According to the myth, Seth tore the eye into fragments, but Thoth, the god of writing, wisdom, and magic, found the fragments and put them together. He restored the eye to health by spitting on it and then gave it back to Horus, and he, in turn, gave it back to life. Filial piety was one of the virtues symbolized by the udjat eye: it could serve as a substitute for any of the offerings that an eldest son was supposed to provide daily at the tomb of his father.

It was also thought to be a potent amulet against sickness and to be capable of restoring the dead to life, as it had done for Osiris. Both the right and left eyes are represented in the udjat form, but the right is more common, perhaps through the influence of another myth, according to which the sun was the right, and the moon the left eye of the sky-god; the sun was regarded as the more powerful. With the exception of the scarab, the udjat was the most popular amulet in ancient Egypt.

Falcon Pectoral of Tutankhamun


A problem that must have perplexed the Egyptians in remote antiquity was how the sun traveled across the sky each day. In prehistoric times the sun-cult had been adopted by a number of the scattered communities settled along the banks of the Nile, and different ideas had evolved to account for the daily phenomenon. After the unification of the country under one ruler - an event that marked both the beginning of the historical period and the foundation of the First Dynasty in about 3100 B.C. - the ideas conceived by the priests of the solar cult at Heliopolis began to gain wider recognition.

 Falcon Pectoral of Tutankhamun

Not many centuries later, the Heliopolitan creed became the state religion. In reaching that position it had not required the suppression of other cults, but it had absorbed some of their beliefs and conceptions and, in particular, some of the ideas that had been developed by other solar cults. These extraneous ideas were not allowed to supersede or supplant those that already existed in their creed; they merely supplemented them, even though they were sometimes difficult to reconcile with them. Such was the case with their ideas about the passage of the sun across the sky.

According to one school of thought, the sun-god, when he emerged each morning from the underworld, entered his bark "of millions of years" and, accompanied by his divine retinue, ferried across the sky until he reached the western horizon and re-entered the underworld. A more picturesque explanation of the daily crossing represented the power that propelled the sun as a large scarab beetle, the concept having been suggested by the common spectacle of the scarab pushing its ball of dung along the ground. Yet another explanation arose from the fact that, apart from the celestial bodies, the only creatures that could support themselves in the air were those provided with wings, in particular birds.

 A sun-god who was worshipped in many localities was called Horus, a name that means "Lofty". From very early times he was thought to be a falcon, probably because of its habit of flying high in the air. When he was identified with Ra, the sun-god of Heliopolis, he became a composite god named Ra-Harakhty, but retained his falcon form. It is in that form that the sun-god is represented on his pectoral. The materials used in the inlay are lapis lazuli, turquoise, carnelian, and light blue glass, with perhaps obsidian for the eye. On the underside, which has four rings for suspension chains, the details of the bird are  chased in the surface of the gold. Held in each talon are the signs for life and infinity.

Necklace with Scarab with Falcon Wings

 Necklace with Scarab with Falcon Wings Holding Infinity Symbol of Tutankhamun


Concealed beneath the twelfth layer of the linen bandages which enveloped the king's mummy were three necklaces with pendant-pectorals, one lying over the center of the thorax and the others supporting it on the left and right sides. The middle pectoral bore the Eye of Horus flanked by a vulture and a cobra, the pectoral over the right side of the body was in the form of a falcon with wings curved upwards and a solar disk with uraeus on its head, and the third pectoral was the one shown here. It represents a winged scarab holding in its forelegs the lunar disk and crescent and in its back legs the basin.

 Between the scarab and the basin, attached to each of them, are three gold bars. The whole piece is made of solid gold decorated on the outer surface with cloisonne work of lapis lazuli, carnelian and turquoise colored glass. In the lunar disk alone the gold is alloyed with silver. All the details of the elements in its composition are finely engraved in the gold base on the inner surface. It is evident that the pectoral represents the throne-name of Tutankhamun, Nebkheperure, but two of its elements are not the regular hieroglyphic signs used for writing the name. The basin (heb) has been substituted for the basket (neb) and the lunar disk and crescent (iah) for the sun's disk (re).

Necklace with Scarab with Falcon Wings

 In both cases the substitutions can be explained as examples of artist's license, but the basin may have been intended to suggest the idea that the king would live to celebrate many festivals (heb). Carter thought that the moon's disk was intended to counterbalance the sun's disk of the falcon necklace on the opposite side of the central pectoral. He remarks, however, that all these pectorals showed signs of friction and it seems unlikely that they would have been worn as a pair by the king during his lifetime, though he may well have worn the individually. Chains of plaited gold wire connect the pectoral with two inlaid gold lotus flowers and a heart shaped pendant separated by two carnelian beads.

The pendant is inlaid with a cartouche bearing the king's name written in the normal manner and two uraei, one on each side of the cartouche. Since the lotus flowers have five holes and the pectoral is provided with a similar number of eyelets at the tops of the wings, it is probable that the suspensory chains were originally intended to consist of five strands of gold beads. The height of the pectoral is 9 cm and the width is 9.5 cm.


Bracelet with Scarabs and Netjer-ankh of Tutankhamun

 Bracelet with Scarabs and Netjer-ankh Holding the Symbols of Infinity of Tutankhamun
Flexible scarab bracelet from the right arm of the king's mummy. The various elements of the design spell out the king's prenomen, Nebkheprure.

Bracelet with Scarabs and Netjer-ankh Holding the Symbols of Infinity of Tutankhamun

Openwork Gold Buckle of Tutankhamun

The adoption of the horse drawn chariot by the Egyptians, some two hundred years before the time of Tutankhamun, not only changed the character of their methods of both hunting and warfare, but also gave artists an opportunity to introduce a greater element of liveliness and movement into their representations of some of the royal activities. Even the peace-loving Akhenaton and his queen, Nefertiti, are frequently shown in the wall reliefs of the tombs of the high officials at Armana riding in chariots followed by their daughters, also in chariots, each chariot drawn by a pair of richly caparisoned, lively steeds.

Tutankhamun is portrayed on his painted casket both hunting and fighting in chariots, and again on the pal of his fan, shooting ostriches from his chariot and returning from the hunt. The conception of the king as a dashing warrior and a huntsman was an innovation of the Eighteenth Dynasty and the image was maintained as an artistic convention whether or not it corresponded with reality in the case of a particular king.

 Openwork Gold Buckle of Tutankhamun

On this openwork gold buckle Tutankhamun is shown riding in his chariot, ostensibly returning from fighting against the Asiatics and the Nubians. Two captives, one from each enemy, are being driven in front of the chariot harried by the king's hound. They are bound together by the stems of a papyrus and a lily. It is simply a heraldic device, without foundation in historical fact, for there is no evidence that Tutankhamun took part in any military exploit. Moreover, as the Asiatics occupied the territory northeast of Egypt, and Nubia lay to the south, it would have been geographically impossible to wage war against both these enemies in a single campaign.

The heraldic nature of the representation is further emphasized by all the other elements in the composition: the protecting vulture of the goddess Nekhbet of Upper Egypt hovering above the king and extending towards him the sign of life, (or ankh); the winged cobra-goddess Wadjet of Lower Egypt behind him embracing with its wings the oval ring, or cartouche, bearing his throne name, Nebkheperura; and to the left of Wadjet, the cluster of papyrus growing in a swamp, also symbolizing Lower Egypt. In the bow-shaped field at the base of the buckle the same general idea is represented by somewhat different symbols.

In the center is the hieroglyphic sign for "unification" (sema); bound to it by the stems of a papyrus and a lotus flower are a bearded Asiatic and a Nubian captive.  Flanking the group, on the right, is the lily of Upper Egypt and, on the left, the papyrus, with two buds, of Lower Egypt. An approximate interpretation of the two scenes would be that Tutankhamun, protected by the goddesses Nekhbet and Wadjet and supported by the people of Upper and Lower Egypt, will vanquish all his enemies. The king is clad in a long pleated robe, similar in appearance to the robe in which he is depicted on the pal of the fan when returning from the ostrich hunt. In actual hunting he wore a leopard skin corselet and a kilt with ornamental apron.

He holds in each hand a pair of reins and also a bow in his left hand and a whip in his right, both objects represented in such a way that they do not conceal any part of the king's arms or hands. The case for the bow is attached to the outer side of the chariot and the quiver, with arrows projecting above it, is suspended from Tutankhamun's girdle. The chariot itself is a light vehicle, lighter than the four state chariots found in the antechamber of Tuankhamun's tomb, but apparently not unlike the two chariots whose dismembered elements had been placed in the treasury of the tomb. The horses have hogged manes and their headstalls are decked with ostrich plumes, sun's disks, and streamers, but the artist has failed to show any connection between the reins and the bit.

A conspicuous feature of the harness and housing of the only horse that can be completely seen is the edging in fine gold applied granules. The same kind of decoration has also been used on the king's wig and collar, the chariot, and the collar of the hound. The sheet gold of which this buckle is made shows the same rose pink color as some of the gold beads in the necklace from the gold mask. In this instance some of the film appears to have been deliberately removed, but it is also possible that it failed to adhere to the surface through some fault in its application.


Rigid Udjat Eye Bracelet of tutankhamun


The central feature of this bracelet is an udjat eye. It is made of two pieces of electrum of unequal width: a front plate bearing the representation of the eye inlaid partly with lapis lazuli and partly with dark blue glass, the pupil being obsidian, and a narrower wrist strap. The two pieces are connected, at one end, by a hinge with a fixed pin and, at the other end, by a clasp that resembles the hinge in construction, but has a removable pin with a projecting eyelet at the base. This bracelet was placed immediately beneath the flexible bracelet on the right forearm of Tutankhamun's mummy.

 Rigid Udjat Eye Bracelet of tutankhamun

Perhaps in order to avoid an abrupt transition in width, the artist who designed the bracelet adopted a device found in other bracelets. At each end of the strap is a V-shaped floral motif consisting of an open poppy flanked by two lotus buds. The stems of the flowers are tied by a gold band at the base so that the entire cluster is equal in width at the top to the plate and at the bottom to the strap. The petals of the poppy are represented in translucent quartz painted red underneath; the buds are made of blue glass. The strap is divided into rectangular compartments, some of which are inlaid with colored glass, quartz painted like the poppy petals, and resin; the intervening spaces are decorated with triangular designs in granular work.

Much of Tutankhamun's jewelry is adorned with minute grains of gold applied to a background of the same metal by, it is now believed, a process known as colloidal hard soldering. By this process the grains were first stuck to the background by an adhesive consisting probably of powdered malachite mixed with gum and the whole piece was then subjected to carefully regulated heat until only the copper in the malachite of the adhesive remained un-vaporized. At that stage the heat was slightly increased, and the gold in contact with the copper melted, producing a firmly welded join. Granular decoration had been used by Egyptian jewelers for centuries before the time of Tutankhamun.