There are a lot of facts about ancient Egyptian art, among them one of the most beautiful artifacts in the collection of King Tutankhamen. This piece is located at the Egyptian Museum.
Before we talk about this masterpiece we should talk briefly about the significance of the throne in ancient Egypt.
The significance of the Throne in Ancient Egypt:
The throne in ancient Egypt, as in many other countries, was a symbol of authority and prestige.
In the ancient Egyptian language (Hieroglyphs), the throne is called (Ist) after the name of the mother goddess Isis, who was usually depicted bearing a throne on her head as her characteristic emblem.
The one who sits on the throne of Egypt was considered as a manifestation of the son of “Isis” “Horus”, who is qualified to sit on the lap of the Goddess.
Place of discovery
This golden throne was discovered covered with folds of black linen shrouds in the Antechamber of the tomb number) KV62) of King Tutankhamen beneath the Hippopotamus funerary bed.
It belongs to Amarna style of art, which is a great and important part of ancient Egyptian arts.
The fact about the Amarna style elements in this piece
The Amarna style of art is evident in this piece on the following points:
- The Solar Disc dominating the main scene of the backrest of the throne, which is the representation of “Itn”, Akhenaton sole deity, who was considered as the power behind the sun, not the sun disc itself as indicated by the rays of the sun emerging from it.
- These rays end with human hands holding w3s & ankh, to specify (show) the anthropomorphic association between the deity “Itn” and his son and sole priest on earth (the king), and to indicated that the deity provide the people through the body of the royal family with life and prosperity which was represented near their nostrils.
- The names of the king and his royal queen are written in the earlier form, (which include the name Itn instead of Amun), on all of the sides if the throne and also it’s back except for two places (near the head of Tutankhamen at the backrest and on the inside of the left arm rest of the throne) which were probably added later after the religious revolution.
- The intimate scene which is full of affection between the royal couple.
- The naturalistic scene of birds flying over some marches of papyrus plants without any representation or human beings.
- The physical features of both the king and the queen such as the elongated face, slim waist, heavy hips, slim legs, and the sandals.
The king is represented wearing a composite crown, which is similar to the “Atef” crown with more additions of serpents wearing solar discs and two feathers.
This crown is called the “hmhmt” that is “the war-cry designed to terrorize the enemies of the king”.
It consists of a triple “Atef” crown decorated with six solar disks (three at the bottom and three on its top), set on a horizontal ram horn (symbol of might), flanked by two ostrich feathers and two cobras bearing sun disks upon their heads.
Four more cobras hang from the crown to protect the king from the cardinal points.
The crown is painted blue (symbol of life and rebirth) the sun disks are in yellow to indicate it is being eternal and imperishable.
The whole crown is fixed on a headband worn on a tightly fitting blue hair wig, the so-called Nubian hair wig.
The hair wig has two back streamers which is one of the traditions of the “Amarna” style of art.
The king also wears a long pleated kilt that has a low front to show his bulging belly; a sash, a wide “wskh” collar that covers most of his shoulder and chest, two bracelets, and sandals which are also characteristic of the Amarna art.
He is putting his feet upon a footstool which is similar to thus footstool in front of us inside this showcase.
In front of the king, stands his wife Queen “Ankhesenamen” wearing also a composite crown known as “Shuti crown” or double feather crown which was used by queens in certain religious rites.
The crown consists of two feathers with a sun disk between them and the Hathoric horns framing them.
The whole composition is fixed on a support in the form of a diadem of protecting cobras worn on a stepped Nubian wig with two back streamers.
The queen is dressed in a full-length translucent voluminous garment which is draped over her shoulders and arms to elbows; a wide collar; and sandals.
Behind the queen, there is a high table with a collar on it, which is a very unusual feature the seat back is framed with a frieze of cobras and two floral columns called ankh giving the impression that the royal couple is within a chapel.
In this way, the royal couple is also receiving life from above (rays of Itn) and from flanks (bouquets of life).
The four legs of the throne adopt a leonine form and are continued in two lion heads protruding from the front to give the impression that the king is flanked by two real lions with all features of ferocity, power, and wildness of the lions.
The artist perfected his work to show the art of Egypt in the anatomy of the two lions, in their paws which are made out of lapis lazuli, in the difference between the front and the rear legs of the lion, the lower parts of the front leg of the lion is represented with part of lapis lazuli.
And also the facial features of the lion even the mane of the lion, the ears of the lion, and the inlaid eyes of the lion with semi-precious stones.
The reason for the existence of these two lions as several indications such as:
1- Maybe these two lions indicate to the power and the light of the king and that he is capable of ruling Upper and Lower Egypt.
The back of the throne
The Egyptian artist wanted to show the Egypt art via this scene as following:
On the back of the throne, there is the naturalistic scene of ducks flying over the marshes of the Nile. Also, there is a frieze of cobras made out of semi-precious stones and decorated with sun disks over their heads.
There are three lines of hieroglyphic inscriptions representing the “Itn earlier form” of the names of the king and his wife.