Tutankhamun Gold pendant with Various Deities

 Gold pendant with Various Deities of Tutankhamun

Color was always used with care in Egyptian composition, and it is generally significant. Our understanding of ancient usage, however, is complicated by the fact that the Egyptians appear not to have classified colors in the same way as we do today.

Tutankhamun Gold pendant with Various Deities

Light blue, for example, seems to have been associated with green or white rather than seen as a shade of dark blue, which the Egyptians evidently related to black. This difference in perception may explain the use of light blue for the flesh of the normally green-skinned god Ptah in this pectoral ornament from the Treasury - and similarly the use of black for both the blue crown of the king and the god's close-fitting cap.

Tutankhamun Gold Falcon Collar

Chased Gold Falcon Collar with Small Counterpoise of Tutankhamun

An Egyptian mummy was an embalmed body, wrapped according to a prescribed pattern in linen bandages. Protective charms (amulets) were placed between the layers of bandages, so that they lay over the part of the body which they were intended to protect or to assist through the power of magic. By multiplying the layers of bandages, more and more amulets could be placed directly over any physical member.

Tutankhamun Gold Falcon Collar

Personal possessions, and particularly jewelry, might be included with the amulets. The bandages of Tutankhamun's mummy enveloped 143 objects - chiefly amulets, such as the chased gold falcon collar with small counterpoise shown above, but also many personal possessions, the fine dagger and sheath lying above the abdomen of the mummy being an outstanding example.

Ornamental Bracelets of Tutankhamun

Very few of the major pieces of jewelry found in Tutankhamun's tomb were intended solely for purposes of adornment. Decorative elements in design are not infrequent, but they are usually subsidiary to the central motif, which was thought to have magical, and especially protective, properties of some kind.

 In this respect they conform with Egyptian jewelry in general: artists and craftsmen devoted much of their skill and ingenuity to devising images drawn from a fairly limited range of myths, often placing them in an attractive setting.

 Two Ornamental Bracelets of Tutankhamun

The two bracelets illustrated here belong to the ornamental class; nothing in their decoration has any recognizable amuletic or magical significance.  The one illustrated on the left is a rigid bracelet, from the left forearm of Tutankhamun's mummy; the one on the right is a flexible bracelet from his right wrist.

 Both bracelets have as their bezels semiprecious stones mounted on plates of gold or electrum; the jewels are probably turquoise in the rigid bracelet and lapis lazuli in the flexible.
 In each case the jewel is set in a border of applied granular-work and small bosses, bands of braided rope, and continuous spirals.

The wrist strap of the rigid bracelet, which is made of four gold tubes bound together, represents the stems of the papyrus flowers and buds at the hinge end of the strap and lilies interspersed with buds at the clasp. These floral terminals serve the same purpose as the corresponding elements on the udjat eye bracelet.

In the flexible bracelet the wrist strap consists of eight strands of gold disk and barrel-shaped beads divided by a central strand of blue glass and carnelian beads. The spacer bar at the free end of the strap has a tenon that slides into a groove on the fixed bar attached to the plate on which the jewel is mounted.