King Tutankhamen’s Life-Size Sarcophagus Cabinet

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This great find is a life sized replica of King Tutankhamen’s sarcophagus, made into a cabinet with fourteen storage shelves inside. It can be mounted to a wall for added stability. This fab cabinet stands 6’4″ tall (1.9 metres) and is 21″ (53.34 cm) wide and 20″ (50.8 cm) deep. You can buy King Tutankhamen’s Life-Size Sarcophagus Cabinet for $949 in the Furniture-> Sculptural Furniture department.

The King Tut Tomb

Tutankhamun’s nearly intact tomb (the most complete ancient Egyptian royal tomb ever found) was rediscovered in 1922 by Howard Carter and George Herbert, 5th Earl of Carnarvon. The Pharaoh entombed inside had lived 3,200 years ago, and had been forgotten by ancient Egyptians within a few generations of his death. In modern times, his name is often shortened to King Tut.

The burial chamber of Tutankhamun contained four gilded shrines nested one inside the other in order of decreasing size. Inside the innermost shrine was a red quartzite sarcophagus which protected three anthropoid (meaning man-shaped) coffins.

King Tut’s Sarcophagus

The outer sarcophagus  was rectangular in shape, nearly 9 feet long, and carved from a single block of red quartzite supported at each corner by a block of alabaster. The lid is made of red granite and cracked across the center. No-one knows how this damage occurred.

It is decorated with figures of four goddesses, Isis, Nephthys, Neith, and Selket, carved in high relief on the corners, with their wings outspread to protect the body of the Pharaoh King Tut.  Hieroglyphs of religious text, religious scenes and the protective Wadjet eye are also engraved on the outermost sarcophagus.

The inner anthropid coffins

The first two inner coffins were made of gold gilded wood but the final coffin was made of solid gold. The solid gold coffin housed the mummy of King Tutankhamen and his fabulous golden death mask.

The outermost anthropoid coffin was 7.3 feet (2.24 metres) long, with its head positioned to the west. Fragments chipped from the toe of the coffin lid at the time of the burial, a crude attempt to rectify a design problem and allow the sarcophagus lid to sit properly, were found in the bottom of the sarcophagus.

The chippings revealed that the coffin was made of cypress with a thin layer of gesso (a kind of plastser) overlaid with gold foil. The layer of gold varied in thickness from heavy sheet for the face and hands to the very finest gold leaf for the headdress.

The surface area of both the lid and base of the coffin were covered with rishi, (a feather decoration) executed in low relief. On the left and right sides and superimposed upon this feathering were two finely engraved images of Isis and Nephthys with their wings extended.

Their protective embrace is alluded to in one of the two vertical lines of hieroglyphs running down the front of the lid. At the bottom of the coffin under the foot is another depiction of the goddess Isis, kneeling upon the hieroglyph for “gold”, and below this are ten vertical columns of text.

The lid of the coffin itself is carved in high relief with a recumbent image of the dead king as Osiris. He wears a broad collar and wrist ornaments carved in low relief, while his arms, crossed on the chest, clutch the twin symbols of kingship, the crook (heqa Scepter) and the flail.

Wadjet and Nekhbet, representing the divine cobra of Lower Egypt and the vulture goddess of Upper Egypt, rose from the king’s forehead. A small wreath tied around the pair was composed of olive leaves and flowers resembling the blue cornflower, bound onto a narrow strip of papyrus pith. The olive leaves were carefully arranged so that the green front of the leaves alternated with the more silver back surface.

The Second Sarcophagus

The second sarcophagus was concealed beneath a decayed shroud of linen, which in turn was obscured by floral garlands, and similar to the first coffin, there was a small wreath of olive leaves, blue lotus petals and cornflowers wrapped around the protective deities on the Pharaoh’s brow.

It measured 6.69 feet (2.04 meters) long, and was constructed from a still unidentified wood covered as before with an overlay of gold foil. Here, the use of inlays were far more extensive than on the outermost coffin.

Many details, such as the stripes of the nemes-headcloth, eyebrows, cosmetic lines and beard were inlaid with lapis-blue glass. The uraeus on the forehead was of gilded wood, with a head of blue faience and inlays of red, blue and turquoise glass. The head of Nekhbet, the vulture, was also of gilded wood with a beak of dark block wood which was probably ebony. The eyes were set with obsidian.

The crook and flail, held respectively in the left and right hands, were inlaid with lapis-blue and turquoise glass and blue faience, while a broad “falcon collar” containing inset pieces of brilliant red, blue and turquoise glass adorned the king’s throat. There were also two similarly inlaid bracelets carved onto the wrists.

Rishi-pattern decorations covered the entire surface of the king’s body and the feathers were each inlaid with jasper-red, lapis-blue and turquoise glass.  Images of the winged vulture goddess Nekhbet and the winged uraeus, Wadjet, also inlaid with pieces of red, blue and turquoise glass also decorated this sarcophagus.

The inner coffin

The final inner coffin was tightly encased within the second coffin and a shroud of red linen, folded three times, covered it from neck to feet. However, the face of this coffin had been left bare. The breast was adorned with a very delicate, broad collar of blue glass beads and various leaves, flowers, berries and fruits, including pomegranates, which were sewn onto a papyrus backing. The third and final coffin was made of pure solid gold.

However, this one made entirely of gold did not gleam. After the linen shroud and papyrus collar were removed, what was revealed was a coffin covered “with a thick black pitch-like layer which extended from the hands down to the ankles.” It was actually a fatty resinous perfume. It is estimated two bucketfulls of this liquid had been poured over the coffin, filling in the whole space between it and the base of the second coffin and making them solid and causing them to stick firmly together.

This pitch like material hardened by age had to be removed by means of hammering, solvents and heat, while the shells of the coffins were loosened from one another and extricated by means of great heat, the interior being temporarily protected during the process by zinc plates – the temperature employed though necessarily below the melting point of zinc was several hundred degrees Fahrenheit. After the inner coffin was extricated it had to be again treated with head and solvents before the material could be completely removed.

The golden coffin measures about 6 feet 2 inches (1.88 meters) in length. The metal was beaten from heavy gold sheet, and varies in thickness from .25 to .3 centimeters. In 1929, it was weighed, tipping the scales at 110.4 kilograms (276 pounds). Thus, its scrap value alone would today be in the ballpark of 1.7 million USD.

The image of King Tut that was sculpted on this coffin is today oddly ethereal, due to the decomposition of the calcite whites of the eyes. The pupils of the eyes are obsidian, while the eyebrows and cosmetic lines are inlaid with lapis-lazuli colored glass.

The beard was worked separately and afterwards attached to the chin. It is also inlaid with lapis colored glass.

The headdress on the coffin is the nemes, as was that of the second coffin, though here the pleating is in relief rather than indicated by inlays of colored glass. During this period of Egyptian history, males wore earrings only up until puberty, so when discovered, patches of gold foil concealed the fact that the ears, also cast separately, were pierced.

At the neck of the coffin were placed two heavy necklaces of disc beads made of red and yellow gold and dark blue faience, threaded on what looked like glass bound with linen tape. Each of the strings had lotus flower terminals inlaid with carnelian, lapis and turquoise glass.

Necklaces of this kind were awarded by Egyptian kings to military commanders and high officials for distinguished services.

Below these necklaces was the falcon collar of the coffin itself, again created separately from the lid, and inlaid with eleven rows of lapis, quartz, carnelian, felspar and turquoise glass imitating tubular beadwork, with an outer edge of inlaid drops.

Like the first and second coffins, the king’s arms are shown crossed upon his chest in the Osirian manner, with sheet bracelets inlaid in a similar manner to the collar using lapis, carnelian and turquoise colored glass.

The crook and flail are held in the left and right hands, overlaid with sheet gold, dark blue faience, polychrome glass and carnelian. Much of the decoration of the flail’s shaft had decayed because of the application of the thick black resin with which the coffin had been coated.

Underneath the king’s hands, the goddesses Nekhbet and Wadjet, made from gold sheet and inlaid with red-backed quartz and lapis and turquoise colored glass, spread their wings protectively around the upper part of the royal body. Each of them grasp in their talons the hieroglyphic sign for “infinity”. Both the lid and base of this coffin are further adorned with rich figures of the winged goddesses Isis and Nephthys on a rishi background, thus protecting the lower right and left sides, respectively. Two vertical columns of text are laid out down the front of the coffin lid from the navel to the feet, with the usual figure of Isis kneeling upon the hieroglyph for “god” (nub) upon the soles of the feet.

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