2014/05/26

Ceremonial Sickle of Tutankhamun

Ceremonial Sickle of Tutankhamun




Sickles were important tools used by farmers to harvest their crops. Since the early Dynastic period, wooden sickles with flint blades attached with resin were placed in tombs for use in the hereafter.

This marvelous model sickle of Tutankhamun is made of gilded wood and decorated with the cartouches of the king, bearing his birth and throne names. The serrated blades are made of colored glass.

Ceremonial Sickle of Tutankhamun

The sickle was probably used for ceremonies in which the king himself took part during Peret, the annual harvest feast. The deceased king also could use the sickle in the afterlife to harvest his crops or cut down any evil that might oppose him during his journey in the underworld.


The Dagger and Sheath of King Tutankhamun

The Dagger and Sheath of King Tutankhamun

The Dagger and Sheath of King Tutankhamun



Daggers were used by the ancient Egyptians from predynastic times onwards, though examples dating from the Old Kingdom are exceedingly rare. During the Middle Kingdom and the New Kingdom they were generally made of copper or bronze; gold, apart from its use for purposes of embellishment, was probably reserved for royalty. Queen Ahhotpe, mother of Ahmosis I, the founder of the Eighteenth Dynasty, had, in her funerary equipment, a solid gold dagger and sheath, both of which are now in the Cairo Museum. Tutankhamun's mummy was provided with two daggers encased in gold sheaths, one with an iron blade and the other with a blade of hardened gold. It is the latter specimen which is shown here.

As an illustration of the goldsmith's artistic ability and technical skill, this dagger, and particularly its sheath, are among the outstanding pieces of the collection. On the top of the pommel are the king's cartouches in applied embossed gold and a wreath of lily-palmettes in cloisonne work. On the underside are two figures of falcons holding in each claw the hieroglyphic symbol for 'eternity' (shen). The falcon was often represented in Egyptian art holding this symbol and, with wings outstretched, protecting a king. Probably it was intended to serve an amuletic purpose in this instance also. A similar motif appears on the haft of a dagger in the Metropolitan Museum which bears the name of Tuthmosis I and it may have been a characteristic feature of royal daggers at this period. Below the pommel, the haft is decorated with alternate bands of geometric designs in granulated gold work and lily palmette designs in gold cloisonne work of semi-precious stones and glass, a central band of minute red and blue circular disks breaking the regularity of the palmette ornamentation. At the base of the hilt, applied in gold wire, is a band of continuous spirals within a rope pattern border, thus conveying to the eye the suggestion that the haft is bound to the blade.

In striking contrast with the ornate haft, the decoration of the blade, which is tinged with red, is simple. At the top, incised on both faces, is a plain horizontal band, which also suggests a tie, over a design consisting of a diamond pattern chain bordered beneath by two horizontal lines, the spaces between the diamonds being filled with dots. Under this frieze is engraved an elegant palmette with poppies surmounting two perpendicular grooves which converge at the base and resemble floral stems.

The obverse of the gold sheath is almost entirely covered with a feather pattern decoration in cloisonne work, relieved at the top by a palmette frieze and at the pointed base by a jackal's head. Of far greater interest is the elaborate design on the reverse. First comes a line of inscription reading: 'The Good God, possessor of a strong arm, Nebkheperure, given life'. A row of continuous spirals follows and then two loops of palmette design, by means of which the sheath was attached to the girdle. The main scene, embossed in high relief, is composed of the following elements: an ibex attacked by a lion, a calf with a hound on its back biting the calf's tail, a leopard and a lion attacking a male ibex from above and below, a hound biting a bull, and lastly a calf in full flight. Interspersed between the animals are stylized plants, and a more elaborate floral device occupies the pointed base.

Although there is no reason to doubt that this sheath was made in Egypt, the decoration of the reverse includes artistic features which have a foreign appearance. The band of continuous spirals, the style of the rosette on the shoulder of the second lion, the summary treatment of the skins of the animals and the floral motif at the base have parallels in the art of northern Syria at this period and they also have Minoan or Mycenaean affinities. Scenes of workshops painted on the walls of private tombs at Thebes sometimes include Asiatic craftsmen at work side by side with the far more numerous Egyptian artisans; they were very probably employed on account of their ability to reproduce artistic styles which were familiar to them but new to the Egyptians. Like so many other importations in the history of Egypt, however, these innovations were quickly absorbed and given the general character of native products.



The Dagger and Sheath of King Tutankhamun



Among the interesting items found in the wrappings of the king's mummy are two wonderful daggers with their sheaths.

This dagger has a gold sheath, decorated on the front with a feather pattern and on the back with a palmetto design.

The significance of the dagger lies in its blade, made of approximately 97 percent iron and 3 percent nickel, a precious rarity in an age that still depended on copper for weaponry.

The handle is exquisitely decorated with gold granulation and glass inlays and is fitted with a knob of rock crystal.

Scribe's Palette with the Names of Meritaten and Nefertiti






The ivory scribe's palette is one of several found between the paws of the jackal god Anubis in the Treasury of the tomb of King Tutankhamun. It has six hollow spaces for colored inks and a slot for the pens.

The palette surprisingly bears the name of Meritaten, the sister of Ankhesenamun, who was the king's wife.

Meritaten was the daughter of Akhenaten and Nefertiti, and the palette bears her name and titles and those of her mother.

Finely Carved Headrest

Headrests were known in Egypt from the time of the Old Kingdom. Under the neck of Tutankhamun's mummy a model headrest was placed.

Finely Carved Headrest

Several real headrests were found among the king's funerary furniture. This headrest is one of these. It is in the traditional shape of a flat rectangular base, a central shaft, and a curved neck support.

The headrest is adorned by one column of hieroglyphic inscription that gives the two names of King Tutankhamun.

Pair of Sandals Depicting the King's Enemies

Pair of Sandals Depicting the King's Enemies


Pair of Sandals Depicting the King's Enemies



Egyptians usually went barefoot, but on some occasions kings wore very elaborately decorated sandals. Some sandals were made of gold. The sandals were tied with two thongs and their tips pointed upward.

This pair of sandals is made of leather and has depictions of enemies on the soles. Four human figures portraying Asian and African neighbors, who were the traditional enemies of Egypt, are shown. The men are depicted as prisoners, lying prostrate with their arms bound behind their backs.

The Pharaoh would symbolically trample on them when he wore his sandals. The sandals are also adorned on the top and bottom by the nine bows, symbols of the traditional enemies of Egypt.

The Fire Lighter of Tutankhamun

The Fire Lighter of Tutankhamun






Among the interesting household items found in the tomb of Tutankhamun is this genuine and unique wooden fire lighter, which the ancient Egyptians used for creating fire. The fire lighter functions through the fast rotating, by hand or by using a bow with thongs, of the fire stick into drill holes. 






The fire stick has 12 holes that contain resin to create the spark by friction which then ignites the nearby tinder.

The drill stick is topped by a separate head which helped the user to hold it steady.

The Trappings of King Tutankhamun's Mummy

The Trappings of King Tutankhamun's Mummy

The Trappings of King Tutankhamun's Mummy


King Tutankhamun's mummy was adorned over the first bandages around the waist with a belt of both gold and glazed beads.

Slightly above there is a pectoral of bright blue glass, shaped like the protector Udjat eye, which is supported by a necklace of shiny beads. 

The Trappings of King Tutankhamun's Mummy

There is also a golden Ba bird, representing the soul, and gold bands, inlaid with multicolored glass paste, containing sacred texts for the protection of the deceased king.


the Rising Sun Pectoral of Tutankhamun

Pectoral of Tutankhamun of the Rising Sun




This is one of the finest of the many pectorals found in the king's tomb. It has a large lapis lazuli scarab in the center, flanked by two uraei, or royal cobras.

The scarab, standing on a solar boat, is pushing a carnelian disk which represents the rising sun and is flanked by symbols of stability, long life, and beauty.

An elaborate chain consists of uraei and scarabs on Heb, or festival, signs.


Shield with King Tutankhamun Slaying His Enemies

Shield with King Tutankhamun Slaying His Enemies

Shield with King Tutankhamun Slaying His Enemies


Among the military equipment found in the tomb of Tutankhamun were eight shields, four of which are ceremonial and are of openwork wood, incised and gilded.

On this shield, a winged sun disk curves around the top, protecting the king who is shown with a scimitar in one hand and holding two lions by their tails in his other hand. The lions symbolize the enemies of Egypt.

Behind the king, the vulture goddess, Nekhbet, spreads out her wings for the king's protection. Below, a band of decoration suggests the mountains of the desert.

Ankh Mirror Box of Tutankhamun

The Mirror Case in the Form of an Ankh of Tutankhamun

Ankh Mirror Box of Tutankhamun


Mirrors, made of polished gold, silver, copper, or bronze, were part of the cosmetic accessories of women and men. They were sometimes preserved in cases such as this elaborate one in the form of an Ankh, or life sign.

 It is carved in gold-plated wood and the king's name is inlaid on the lid with colored glass and semiprecious stones. The interior of the case is lined with silver. The mirror it once contained was not found.

 


Originally the case contained a mirror, but when Carter examined the large cartouche-shaped chest placed in the Treasury, he found that the thieves had already stolen the mirror. He suggested, therefore, that it was probably made of a precious material. The case consists of two parts, both of which were made of wood overlaid in sheet gold. Thin sheets of silver lined the interior, and the same metal was used for the knobs by which the case was sealed. Colored glass is used for the majority of the inlays on the lid, but carnelian and quartz were utilized as well.

An inscription with Tutankhamun's names, epithets, and relationship to specific gods is written around the loop of the upper sections of both parts of the box and also in a column in the vertical part. Within the loop of the lower part of the case are two cartouches, each with a uraeus at its side. The cartouches, which contain the throne and personal names of the king, and the serpents, are surmounted by solar disks. The corresponding area on the lid has the throne name of the king written with a winged beetle in place of the traditional one.

It is flanked by two serpents whose heads are surmounted by solar disks and whose tails terminate in the hieroglyphic sign for "infinity" (shen). Below the name is a lotus, and the entire composition, inlaid in glass and semiprecious stones, was probably meant to be a reference to a myth involving the birth of the sun god.

The shape of the case takes the form of the hieroglyph ankh which can mean not only "life," but also "mirror." Such a use illustrates the adaptability and versatility of the writing system of ancient Egypt.