Tutankhamun’s mask – Wikipedia

The golden mask of the Egyptian pharaoh Tutankhamun

the Tutankhamun mask It is a golden funerary mask of the ancient Egyptian pharaoh of the Eighteenth Dynasty Tutankhamun (reigned from 1334 to 1325 BC). After being buried for more than 3,000 years, it was excavated by Howard Carter in 1925 from tomb KV62 in the Valley of the Kings and is now in the Egyptian Museum in Cairo. The death mask is one of the most famous works of art in the world and a prominent symbol of ancient Egypt.

Bearing a likeness of Osiris, the Egyptian god of the afterlife, it measures 54 cm (21.3 in) tall, weighs over 10 kg (22 lb) or 321.5 troy ounces, and is decorated with semi-precious stones. ancient spell from Book of the Dead Inscribed with hieroglyphs on the shoulders of the mask. The mask had to be restored in 2015 after its 2.5-kilogram (5.5-pound) braided beard fell off and was hastily affixed by museum workers.

According to Egyptologist Nicholas Reeves, the mask is “not only the perfect image of Tutankhamun’s tomb, it is perhaps the most famous piece of ancient Egypt itself”. Since 2001, some Egyptologists have suggested that it may originally have been dedicated to Queen Neferneferuaten.[6]


Tutankhamun’s burial chamber was found in Thebes necropolis in the Valley of the Kings in 1922 and opened in 1923. It took another two years before an excavation team led by English archaeologist Howard Carter managed to open the heavy sarcophagus containing Tutankhamun’s tomb. mummy. On October 28, 1925, they opened the three innermost sarcophagi to reveal the golden mask, first seen some 3,250 years ago. Carter wrote in his diary:

The screws have been removed, and the cover has been lifted. The penultimate scene is revealed – a very elegantly wrapped mummy of the young king, with a golden mask of a sad but calm expression, symbolizing Osiris… The mask bears the attributes of that god, but the likeness is Tutankhamen – calm and beautiful with the same features that we find on His statues and coffins. The mask has moved slightly back, thus its gaze is now directly towards the sky.[7]

In December 1925, the mask was removed from the tomb, placed in a box and transported 635 kilometers (395 miles) to the Egyptian Museum in Cairo, where it remained on public display.

a description[edit]

Mask measures 54 cm (21 in) long, 39.3 cm (15.5 in) wide and 49 cm (19 in) deep. It is made of two layers of high-karat gold, 1.5 to 3 mm (0.059 to 0.118 in) thick, and weighs 10.23 kg (22.6 lb). An X-ray crystallography study conducted in 2007 revealed that the mask was made primarily of 23 karat gold copper alloy to facilitate the cold work used to mold the mask. The surface of the mask is coated with a very thin layer (about 30 nm) of two different alloys of gold: a lighter shade of 18.4 karat for the face and neck, and 22.5 karat gold for the rest of the mask.[9]

The face represents the standard image of the pharaoh, and the excavators found the same image in other places in the tomb, especially in the statues of the guard. He wears a nemes headdress, surmounted by the royal insignia of a cobra (Wadget) and an eagle (Nakhbet), symbolizing Tutankhamun’s rule of Lower and Upper Egypt, respectively. The ears are pierced to hold earrings, a feature that seems to have been reserved for queens and children in almost all surviving ancient Egyptian artwork.[11] Egyptologist Zahi Hawass, former Egyptian Minister of Antiquities, said Al-Monitor And that “the theory of ear piercing is unfounded because all the rulers of the Eighteenth Dynasty wore earrings during their reign.”[12]

The mask is encrusted with colored glass and gemstones, including lapis lazuli (eye circumference and brows), quartz (eyes), obsidian (pupils), agate, amazonite, turquoise, and faience.[3][13][9]


When it was discovered in 1925, it weighed 2.5 kg (5.5 lb).[14] narrow golden beard, inlaid with blue glaze,[9] Giving it a braided effect, it was detached from the mask, but was reattached to the chin with a wooden dowel in 1944.[15]

And in August 2014, the beard fell off when the mask was taken out of the display case for cleaning. The museum workers in charge used quick-drying epoxy to try to fix it, leaving the beard off-center. The damage was noticed in January 2015, and a German-Egyptian team repaired it, reconnecting it using beeswax, a natural material used by the ancient Egyptians.[16]

In January 2016, it was announced that eight Egyptian Museum employees had been fined and disciplined for allegedly ignoring scientific and professional methods of restoration and causing permanent damage to the mask. A former director of the museum and a former director of restoration were among those facing discipline.[17]


The back of the mask

A protective spell is inscribed in Egyptian hieroglyphs on the back and shoulders in ten vertical and two horizontal lines. The spell first appeared on masks in the Middle Kingdom, 500 years before Tutankhamun, and was used in chapter 151 of the book Book of the Dead.[18]

Your right eye is the bark of the night (the sun god), your left eye is the bark of the day, your eyebrows are the ninth of the gods, your forehead is (Anubis), the back of your head. Your neck is (that) Horus, the locks of your hair are (that) Ptah-Soker. (You art) in front of Osiris (Tutankhamun). He sees thanks to you, you guide him to the paths of goodness, you defeat his allies of Seth until he overthrows your enemies before the ninth of the gods in the prince’s great castle in Heliopolis… Osiris, King of Upper Egypt, Nebkher Ra [Tutankhamun’s throne-name]the deceased, given life by Ra.[19]

Osiris was the Egyptian god of the afterlife. The ancient Egyptians believed that kings preserved in the image of Osiris would rule the kingdom of the dead. It never replaced the ancient sun worship, as dead kings were believed to be resurrected as the sun god Ra, whose body was made of gold and lapis lazuli. This confluence of old and new beliefs led to the emergence of a patchwork of emblems inside the sarcophagus of Tutankhamun and his tomb.[19]

bead necklace[edit]

Although it is usually removed when the mask is on display, it has a three-strand disc bead necklace made of gold and blue faience with lotus flower tips and auxiliary clasps.

Possibility of change and reuse[edit]

Many of the objects in Tutankhamun’s tomb are believed to have been adapted for Tutankhamun’s use after they were originally made for either of two pharaohs whose short reigns preceded his short reign: Neferneferuaten, who may have been Nefertiti, and Smenkhkare. Egyptologist Nicholas Reeves argues that the mask was one such object. He says that the pierced ears indicate that the mask was intended for the female pharaoh, Neferneferuaten. that the slightly different composition of the base alloy of the face (23.2 ct) indicates that it was made independently of the rest of the mask (alloy 23.5 ct); And that the cartouches on the mask show signs of changing from the name of Neferneferuaten to the name of Tutankhamun. Reeves argues that the mask’s nemes headdress, collar, and ears were made for Neferneferuaten but that the face, which was made as a separate piece of metal and matches other depictions of Tutankhamun, was added later, replacing the original face supposed to represent Neferneferuaten.[11] However, Christian Eckmann, a mineral preservation expert who carried out the restoration in 2015, says there are no signs that the face is made of a different gold from the rest of the mask or that the cartridges have been altered.[22]


See also[edit]


  1. ^ Gadiutsa, Corina (2005). The Egyptian Museum, Cairo. Editura Adevărul held. s. 106. ISBN 978-606-539-203-8.
  2. ^ Christian Desroches-Noblecourt (1965). Tutankhamun: The Life and Death of a Pharaoh. Doubleday. s. 55. ISBN 978-0-1400-2351-0.
  3. ^ a B “Tutankhamun: Anatomy Excavation, Howard Carter Archives”. Griffith Institute. Oxford university. Retrieved November 28th 2015.
  4. ^ Marian Eaton-Krause (2015). The unknown Tutankhamun. Bloomsbury Academy. s. 111. ISBN 978-1-4725-7561-6.
  5. ^ Howard Carter’s Excavation Notes (Texts and Scans). Griffith Institute. Oxford university. Retrieved April 10th 2016.
  6. ^ a B c Oda, M.; Ishizaki, A.; Baba, M. (2014). “Tutankhamun’s Golden Mask and Throne”. In Kondo, Jero (Editor). Searching for the Dreams of the Pharaohs: Studies in Honor of Sakuji Yoshimura. Cairo: Ministry of State for Antiquities Affairs. pp. 149-177. Retrieved Oct. 12 2021.
  7. ^ a B James Seidell (November 26, 2015). “Tutankhamun’s Mask: Evidence of an Erased Name Pointing to the Fate of the Heretic Queen Nefertiti”. News.com.au. News Corp Australia. Retrieved November 28th 2015.
  8. ^ Hajar Hosni (July 28, 2021). “Egyptologists refute the British theory that calls into question King Tut’s mask”. New York times. Retrieved November 11th 2021.
  9. ^ Alessandro Bongioni; Maria Sol Croce (2003). Treasures of ancient Egypt from the Egyptian Museum in Cairo. Rizzoli. s. 310. ISBN 978-0-7893-0986-0.
  10. ^ Nevin Al-Aref (October 22, 2015). “Interview with German Conservative Christian Eckmann”. Al-Ahram Online. Retrieved December 18th 2015.
  11. ^ “Does King Tut have a new barber?”. Dr. Zahi Hawass. Laboratorioroso. February 22, 2015. Archived from the original On October 7, 2016. Retrieved December 18th 2015.
  12. ^ Liam Stack (16 December 2015). “King Tut’s mask, after repair, is back on display in Egypt”. New York times. Retrieved December 16th 2015.
  13. ^ “The referral of 8 employees to trial for destroying the mask of Tutankhamun”. Daily News Egypt. January 23, 2016. Retrieved Jan 24th 2016.
  14. ^ “Tut Gallery: The Golden Death Mask of Tutankhamun”. Tour in Egypt. Retrieved December 19th 2015.
  15. ^ a B Trustees of the British Museum (1972). Treasures of Tutankhamun. Thames and Hudson. pp. 154-156. ISBN 978-0-7230-0070-9.
  16. ^ Forbes, Denise C. Tombs, Treasures, and Mummies, Book IV: Tutankhamun’s Tomb (KV62), Revised Edition. KMT Communications, 2018. p. 363


external links[edit]

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