Golden Sandals of Tutankhamun
A pair of golden sandals of Tutankhamun found on his feet. These stunning gold sandals were just one of 42 pairs King Tutankhamun had in his tomb. Too many ointments poured on Tutankhamun’s mummy caused severe damage to the tissues, except for those protected by gold: the face, fingers, and toes.
In fact, gold sheaths covered the toes and finally the golden sandals were put on the feet while the lector priest recited incantations, which would permit the king to trample his enemies underfoot. The last stage of the embalming was the bandaging. Each finger and toe was individually wrapped, then each limb, and finally the whole body.
The golden sandals that were found on the feet of Tutankhamun’s mummy imitate these palm leaf, grass and papyrus sewn sandals, indicating that they were a favored design. They compare well with the sandals that are depicted on the statue, which depicts the king wearing the White Hedjet Crown of Upper Egypt.
Related: Dagger of Tutankhamun
These particular golden sandals have engraved decoration that replicates woven reeds. Created specifically for the afterlife, they still covered the feet of Tutankhamun when Howard Carter unwrapped the mummy.
“Tutankhamun’s footwear was of several kinds. Most common were sewn sandals, made of papyrus strips stitched together, which were probably for daily use.
On the other end of the spectrum were the boy-king’s solid gold sandals, which were never worn in life, but were intended for eternity. They adorned his feet as he lay in the solid gold coffin.
Perhaps most interesting are his leather sandals, cut like a mosaic with Syrian and Nubian prisoners on the soles, so Tutankhamun could step on the traditional enemies of Egypt wherever he walked.
It is important to note that none of Tutankhamun’s footwear showed asymmetrical wear, which suggests that he was not lame, as had previously been claimed.”
— Tutankhamun and the Tomb that Changed the World, by Bob Brier (#aff)
The Symbolism of the Golden Sandals of Tutankhamun
The golden sandals of Tutankhamun, discovered in his tomb, are rich in symbolism that reflects the king’s status and role in ancient Egyptian society. While the exact meaning behind every detail may not be fully understood, there are some general interpretations based on ancient Egyptian beliefs and cultural context.
The golden material of the sandals itself represents wealth, luxury, and divine association. Gold was highly valued in ancient Egypt and was associated with the sun god Re and the concept of eternal life. By wearing golden sandals, Tutankhamun symbolically connected himself to the divine and emphasized his elevated status as a king.
Additionally, the sandals were an essential part of the king’s regalia, which included various ceremonial items and clothing. As such, they symbolized Tutankhamun’s authority and legitimacy as a ruler. They were likely worn during important religious ceremonies, rituals, or public appearances, further emphasizing his connection to the divine and his role as a mediator between the gods and the people.
The golden sandals of Tutankhamun symbolize his wealth, divine association, authority, and role as a king in ancient Egyptian society. They serve as a tangible representation of his power and status, as well as his connection to the gods.
New Kingdom, late 18th Dynasty, reign of Tutankhamun, ca. 1332-1323 BC. Now in the Egyptian Museum, Cairo. JE 60678/60679 (Carter’s Number 256 II).