Ka Statue of Tutankhamun

This wooden Ka statue is one of two statues that stood guarding the entrance of the burial chamber of Tutankhamun.

The King is wearing the Khat headdress and in one hand the king is holding the hedge mace, as the traditional weapon of a victorious king; and in the other, a staff in the form of a papyrus plant, which symbolizes youth and freshness.

Ka Statue of King Tutankhamun
Ka Statue of King Tutankhamun. Photo: Sandro Vannini

The statue is in black representing the Nile mud that flooded and gave it fertility every year. Black signified resurrection and the continuity of life.

A Ka statue is a type of ancient Egyptian funerary statue. It is intended to provide a resting place for the Ka, or spirit, of the person after death.

The ancient Egyptians believed the ka (or life-force), along with the physical body, the name, the Ba (personality or soul), and the šwt (shadow), made up the five aspects of a person.

They believed that they have several types of souls or spirits. The Ka was the most important one and the statue evidently shows the king as his Ka.

Ka Statue of King Tutankhamun
Ka Statue of King Tutankhamun

Many Ka statues were placed in a purpose-built mortuary chapel or niche, which could be covered with appropriate inscriptions. Like most ancient Egyptian statuary, Ka statues display a rigid frontalism in which the body faces squarely forward in a formal way.

From the Tomb of Tutankhamun (KV62), Valley of the Kings, West Thebes. Now in the Egyptian Museum, Cairo. JE 60707