Chair of Tutankhamun with Carved Back

This wooden chair of Tutankhamun has a finely carved back. The back consists of a scene representing Heh, the god of a million years and eternity. Heh is always represented in a crouching position raising his hands to the sky.

On the sides there are the sema tawy, signs of unification Upper and Lower Egypt. The chair is decorated from the top with the winged solar disk, sign of Horus, the god of Edfu. The legs of the chair are in the shape of lion’s paws to give power to its owner.

God Heh - back chair of Tutankhamun
God Heh – back chair of Tutankhamun

Egyptian chairs were constructed with a variety of materials with wood often as the base material. For extra comfort, seats could be outfitted with cordage, as well as covered with cloth or leather.

A carpenter manufactured this chair using wooden mortises and tenons (tongueand- groove joints) and pins called dowels. Many of the ancient wooden dowels are still visible just above the point where the legs meet the seat.

This chair is an excellent example of the construction of ordinary chairs in Egypt. The high quality of its joinery and the harmony of its proportions testify to the skill of ancient Egyptian carpenters.

The Sema Tawy, the symbol of the unification Upper and Lower Egypt. The motif consists of a windpipe entwined with lotus and papyrus plants, floral symbols that respectively represent Upper and Lower Egypt.

Tutankhamun’s Chair with Carved Back
Tutankhamun’s Chair with Carved Back

From the Tomb of Tutankhamun (KV62). Valley of the Kings, West Thebes. Now in the Egyptian Museum, Cairo. JE 62029