Small Golden Shrine of Tutankhamun

This small shrine of King Tutankhamun, made of wood and covered with thick gold, rests on a silver-plated sledge. The exterior and the double doors are decorated with scenes showing the king and his wife hunting and enjoying life.

The scenes on the double doors are surrounded by friezes of decorations, royal cartouches, and rekhyt birds. Rekhyt birds are lapwings or plovers with human arms, that symbolize all the people ruled by the king.

Small Golden Shrine of Tutankhamun
Small Golden Shrine of Tutankhamun

Inside the shrine, an ebony pedestal and back pillar bearing the king’s name indicated that it had once housed a statue, perhaps that of the goddess Werethekau, Great of Magic, who is mentioned several times in the texts, or a statue of the king himself.

The small golden shrine found by Howard Carter in the Antechamber of Tutankhamun’s tomb is one of the most spectacular and thematically interesting objects buried with the king.

It is made of wood overlaid with gesso and covered with gold sheeting. All exposed exterior surfaces and the insides of the doors are covered with inscriptions and figures in raised relief that depict Tutankhamun and his queen Ankhesenamun in poses reminiscent of ‘daily life’ scenes.

Small Golden Shrine of Tutankhamun
Small Golden Shrine of Tutankhamun

From the Tomb of Tutankhamun (KV62), Valley of the Kings, West Thebes. Wood, clouded with gold foil. Dimensions: 50.5 × 26.5 × 32 cm. Now in the Egyptian Museum, Cairo. JE 61481

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