Art in ancient Egypt, 3 artifacts of King Tutankhamen

Art in ancient Egypt

Now, we are going to talk about some magnificent artifacts which relate to art in ancient Egypt.

Egyptian art: Tutankhamen’s headrests

Art of ancient Egypt
The headrest of king Tutankhamun

According to ancient Egyptian beliefs, headrests were essential to rites of rebirth as described in the book of the dead chapter 166.

It was necessary to raise the head of the deceased toward the sky. In chapter 166 of the book of the Dead we read:

Your head so that you may be triumphant over what was done against you. For Ptah has filled your enemies, your head shall not be taken from you forever.

Eight headrests were found in various parts of the tomb of King Tutankhamen. These headrests are closely associated with the king’s beds and funerary couches.

Each headrest was comfortably and suitably padded with strips of linen to provide support to the king’s head during sleep. They were also associated with resurrection.

The first headrest was found in a painted box positioned in front of the burial chamber blocking. Two others were found in the annex also inside boxes.

These three headrests had probably been intended for the ritual couches. They are made of gessoed and gilded wood and have no decorations or inscriptions.

A fourth headrest was found in a black and white box with a vaulted lid on top of the hippopotamus couch in the antechamber.

This headrest is made out of hard reddish-brown wood, which was a traditional color for headrests in the ancient Egyptian art. Blue painted figures of Bes decorate either side of its base.

The column is inscribed with a vertical line of text on its front and back side, also in blue paint. The text contains the names and titles of Tutankhamen.

The four remaining headrests were kept inside a table-shaped cabinet found lying on top of the untidy head of objects in the middle of the annex. According to Carter, these were probably put there after the robbery.

From the inscription in hieratic on a similar box, Carter suggested that both chests originally contained linen and that the headrests were put in one of them when the officials of the necropolis discovered the robbery and restored order in the tomb. The quality of all four headrests in superb.

Ancient Egypt art
Egyptian art: the headrests of king Tutankhamun
Art of ancient Egyptians
Another headrest of king Tutankhamun

Ancient Egypt art: Painted Casket

Egypt art
The painted casket of king Tutankhamun

As already stated by carter this painted casket forms one of the greatest artistic treasures ever found. It forms one of the finest examples of miniature painting to have survived from ancient Egypt.

Breasted commented on it saying that it is definitely the work of a master artist of all times, compared with whom the greatest artists among the Greeks and the Italian Renaissance and of the Louis XIV period are mere hacks.

The casket was found in the antechamber. It was the first object to be removed from there. With its lead in position, it measures 44.5 cm. Its length is 61 cm, and its width is 43 cm. It was used originally for keeping a range of children’s clothing, some of which is still held when the tomb was opened for the first time. It took the excavators three weeks to empty the box of its contents.

The casket is made of wood covered with painted stucco showing scenes of war and hunting, which considered ones of the beautiful scenes in the art of ancient Egypt.

On the led and the two long sides, the king is depicted as an archer riding on his war-chariot followed by his troops in perfect order, which contrasts with the confused enemies or wild animals, a symbol of chaos.

The hunting scenes are represented on the led:

One depicts the king hunting hyenas, gazelles and ostriches and the other killing eight lions.

On the long sides of the box are two scenes of the king battling Asian people and Nubians even though it is doubted that he was ever involved in a battle during his lifetime.

The short sides of the box show the victorious king as a sphinx trampling his enemies. The lunette-shaped space at the end of the lid shows the traditional winged solar disk of Horus Behdety.

Art of ancient Egypt
Egyptian art: the other face of the casket

The cartouche of the king is inscribed between the two wings of the falcon as if forming the body of the deity thus allowing the king to identify himself with this deity.

This identification is repeated underneath is the king’s own coronation name (Nb-kehprew-Ra) written with a basket, a scarab, and the sun disk inside a cartouche.

Below the cartouche is a “nbw” sign for gold and above It is a sun disk between two feathers. This could be explained as a designation for the king himself that reads: ( the king’s golden king is Ra).

Notice also the resemblance in shape between the nbw sign and the basket in the king’s name, the oval shape of the cartouche and the body of the scarab in kings’name and the sun disk with feathers and the sun disk of the king’s name. As such the king would be identified with Kheper.

Art in ancient Egypt: the Footstool

Art in Egypt
Egypt art: the footstool of Tutankhamun

Concerning the footstool of the throne, it made out of heavy wood covered with gold leafs and decorated on its top with 6 of the nine traditional enemies which may by an exaggeration of the three enemies from the eastern, the western, and the southern borders of Egypt (the Asiatic, The Libyans, and The Nubians) to indicate the plural of plurality or the perfection of the of the power over the enemies and that was accomplished by 3*3=9 “psdt psdwt” or by 3*2=6 as the case of this footstool of the golden throne of king “Tutankhamen”.

Other opinion said that the real number of the enemies of Egypt in the reign of king “Tutankhamen” was six enemies but this opinion is not strong because on the other 5 footstools we found the nine traditional enemies which are:

The Nubians, The Libyans, The Asiatic, The Sea people, The Ashurians, The Hittites, The people of Kush, the Babylonians, and The Palestinians.

On the front and back of the footstool, we can see the “Rkht” birds with the human hands to represent the commoners of Egypt sitting on the “nb” sign meaning all, and beside them: we find the “dwa” sign which is “to adore”. So this is translated as: the king is being adored by all commoners.

Ancient Egyptian art
The footstool of the boy king
The collection of King Tutankhamen are the most beautiful collection at the Egyptian Museum, so it represents the most known and prominent artifacts of art in ancient Egypt.

Leave a Reply

Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked *