Egypt art, 3 masterpieces of King Tutankhamen

The artifacts of King Tutankhamen have its own importance in Egypt art, as these artifacts represent a different type of art in ancient Egypt.

The Alabaster Oil Lamp

Ancient Egyptian art
Alabaster oil lamp of King Tut

The alabaster oil lamp is one of a marvelous masterpiece in ancient Egypt art. Clearance of Tutankhamen’s burial chamber produced this charming alabaster oil lamp, which was most probably one of the king’s personal treasures that went with him to his grave.

The lamp is made out of more than one piece. It takes the form of a thin-walled lotus cup flanked by elaborately decorated handles.

Both cup and handles are cemented onto a heavy pedestal carved from a single block of alabaster. An inner vessel or cup was exactly adjusted inside the outer one.

The outer surface of the inner vessel was decorated with two painted scenes. The first show queen Ankhesenamun presenting two palm branches with many notches to the king.

Palm branches with many notches were symbols of eternity for the ancient Egyptians. The second scene shows the king’s names and titles between horizontal bands of petal (flowery) decoration.

When employed as a lamp, the cup was partially filled with oil, probably sesame oil, traces of which still remained. A floating wick was then placed inside the oil.

Only when lit that the scene on the outer face of the inner vase becomes visible through the translucent thin-walled outer cup as if by magic. Otherwise, the scene remains invisible.

The sculpted handles of the lamp are decorated with traditional images showing the ancient Egyptian deity Heh sitting on a neb sign held on top of three papyrus plants.

He raises his hands to support an ankh sign and a cartouche, with the name of King Tutankhamen, carried on top of his head.

Behind each of the two seated divine figures is a palm branch with many notches. Decoration symbolizes the wish that the king may live a million of years.

Ancient Egypt art: Ceremonial Chair

Egypt art
Ceremonial chair of King Tut

This is one of the most distinctive seats in the collection of Tutankhamen. It was found by Carter in the south-east corner of the Annex, tied up with strips of linen like the king’s throne.

It is commonly referred to as the “ecclesiastical throne of Tutankhamen” probably because of its shape that resembles the Bishop’s seats of the Middle Ages in Europe.

It is made out of ebony that is partly covered with gold leaf and richly inlaid with ivory, colored glass, faience and semi-precious stones.

Its design resembles that of a backed folding stool, with a double curved seat resting on a base fashioned like a duck headed folding stool, here made permanently rigid.

The curved seat is decorated with an imitation of a spotted animal skin, maybe cheetah or a Nubian goat complete with representations of the animal tail and legs under the seat.

The sloping back is decorated with geometric inlays containing three vertical columns of texts, which include the earlier form of the king’s name “Tutankhamen”.

The three other vertical columns of texts (the dark ones) provide the king’s modified name form (Tutankhamen). The horizontal text on the top and bottom also carries the modified name “Tutankhamen”.

Then again, the cartouches flanking the wings of the vulture Nekhbet revert to the Aten form of the king’s name. At the top of the chair is a representation of Aten with the “Amun form” cartouches.

The Aten form of the king’s name is also found in the texts on the stiles (vertical panels) at the rear of the throne. The footrest associated with this chair is similarly coated and inlaid.

Its top surface is divided into two parts horizontally decorated with representations of Nine alternating Nubian and Asiatic bound captives, the so-called “Nine Bows” or traditional enemies of Egypt.

Art of ancient Egypt: Sticks and staves

Egyptian art
Sticks of King Tut

A total number of 130 complete and fragmentary sticks and staves were recovered from the antechamber, burial chamber, and annex.

Such a large number led Carter to speculate that the young pharaoh must have been an amateur collector of walking sticks and staves.

Many of them were just ritual objects, while others show signs of use. Tutankhamen’s sticks and staves were of different types:

Long staves with forked tops and ferruled ends, crooked sticks and curved sticks for killing snakes.

One group of four sticks recovered from the antechamber has crooks carved and painted to represent African and Asiatic captives.

Two other sticks, found inside Tutankhamen shrines, one made out of gold and the other of silver, are surmounted by delicate miniature images of the young king.

This collection is one of the most magnificent one throughout the history of Egypt art.