Pendant of Tutankhamun with Werethekau

Pendant of goddess Werethekau with plumed and horned head-dress and snake body, suckling a standing figure of King Tutankhamun. Made of heavy plate gold on two large suspension rings at back, just below head-dress.

“The cobra with woman’s head sometimes wears the low crown also associated with Isis, but on other occasions the Double Crown of Mut or the two plumes which link her with Renenutet, the harvest goddess, nurse and protectress of kings.

Tutankhamun’s gold example wearing feathers, horns and disc and depicted suckling the young king is actually named Werethekau (“Great Enchantress” or “Great of Magic”), unfortunately the epithet of more than one goddess, including Mut.”

Pendant of goddess Werethekau
Pendant of goddess Werethekau
Goddess Werethekau Suckling Tutankhamun
Goddess Werethekau Suckling Tutankhamun

As a deity dedicated to protection, she often appeared on funerary objects, particularly weapons, to allow the deceased to protect him or herself against the dangers of the underworld. She also was placed on ivory knives as a charm to protect pregnant and nursing mothers.

The significance of the snake in Ancient Egypt is very ambivalent. It inspires both fear and admiration. The royal cobra, in particular, protects the wearer against enemies. In the Books of the Underworld, uraei serve as the guardians of doors and gates.

From the Tomb of Tutankhamun (KV62), Valley of the Kings, West Thebes. Now in the Egyptian Museum, Cairo. JE 61952