Statue of Amun with features of Tutankhamun

Standing graywacke statue of Amun, preserved from the knees up. Amun wears a short kilt fastened with a tyet amulet, a broad collar. The tall plumes of his crown are missing. In his hands, he holds two ankh symbols.

The statue is an indication of Egyptian religion reverting to traditional presentations connecting the king and the god Amun at the head of the pantheon.

Statue of Amun with features of Tutankhamun
Statue of Amun with features of Tutankhamun. Photo: Tom Jenkins

In this statue, the god Amun typically appears as a man wearing a tall, double-plumed headdress. His tall headdress is missing from this statue, but his crown bears traces of gilding. Amun wears the false beard of a deity, an elaborately beaded broad collar, and a short kilt decorated on the belt with a tyet-amulet, a symbol related both to the goddess Isis and to the ankh, the hieroglyph meaning “life”. The god also holds ankhs indicating his immortality. His hands, which have been intentionally cut back, may represent a deliberate alteration to allow the statue to fit into a shrine or a portable ceremonial boat used to carry it in processions.

Other statues of traditional gods in the Penn’s exhibition include the lioness-headed goddess Sekhmet and the mother-son Isis and Horus. Personal items of ancient royalty—a seal and a scarab of Amenhotep III, vessel fragments bearing cartouches of queens Nefertiti and Tiye, a comb, an elegant statue of an Amarna princess—remind the visitor of the individuals who lived at that time.  An ancient wooden mallet, fiber brush, unfinished statue and decorative molds for the making of glass items speak to the presence of a vibrant artisan community.

More than a decade before British archaeologist Howard Carter discovered Tutankhamun’s extraordinary tomb in the Valley of the Kings, American explorer Theodore Davis found a nearby pit that contained vessels from the boy king’s funerary feast, among other things.

New Kingdom, late 18th Dynasty, reign of Tutankhamun, ca. 1332-1323 BC. Greywacke. Height: 45.4 cm, width: 15.23 cm, depth: 13.33 cm. Now in the Penn Museum, Philadelphia. E14350