Ostrich Hunt Fan of Tutankhamun

This hunt fan was found in the burial chamber of Tutankhamun, between the two innermost shrines; from the remains of its feathers it was clear that it had been fitted with thirty ostrich feathers, white and brown, alternately set.

The inscription on the stick says that Tutankhamun hunted ostriches in the desert near Heliopolis and provided the feathers for this fan. Made out of wood covered with sheet gold, length of the handle, 95 cm, stumps of feathers may still be seen in the holes on the outer edge of the palm. 

Ostrich hunt fan of Tutankhamun
Ostrich hunt fan of Tutankhamun

A single ostrich feather represented the Goddess Maat who was the personification of Truth, Justice and the Essential Harmony of the universe. Ostrich feathers were often used to make fans for wealthy or important people in ancient Egypt. Fans made with ostrich feathers appear frequently in wall reliefs.

The ostrich was an animal brought to ancient Egypt from southern Africa. The ancient Egyptians used the eggs of ostriches to make small containers for perfume, and the feathers to make fans.

New Kingdom, late 18th Dynasty, reign of Tutankhamun, ca. 1332-1323 BC. From the Tomb of Tutankhamun (KV62), Valley of the Kings, West Thebes.Now in the Egyptian Museum, Cairo. JE 62001