Tutankhamun folding stool imitating leopard skin
Many examples of this stool have been found, two in the tomb of Tutankhamun with fragments of leather seats still adhering to their upper crossbars. Though this object looks like a folding stool, its elements are fixed. Actual portable furniture saw use during hunts and military campaigns.
The seat has painted and inlaid decoration to imitate a leopard skin with its backbone in the center, the legs end in ducks’ heads. This folding wooden stool of ebony is inlaid with ivory to look as if it is covered with leopard skin. The paws hang from the corners, while the tail is in the middle of the right side.
The legs of the stool are in the shape of duck necks and heads, a design commonly used for folding stools, although this one is not flexible. The duck heads rest on two supports that were made of gilded wood and covered with copper.
Leopards were already extinct in Egypt in the New Kingdom, but skins of the beast were regularly included among the objects sent annually from Nubia as tribute to the reigning pharaoh.
Organizing the collection and dispatch of this tribute was one of the duties of the Egyptian viceroy of Nubia. Tutankhamun’s viceroy of Nubia was a person named Huy, and in his tomb at Thebes there is a scene of himself accompanied by Nubian princes presenting their tribute to Tutankhamun, one of the objects being a folding stool with a seat of leopard skin.
From the Tomb of Tutankhamun (KV62), Valley of the Kings. Now in the Egyptian Museum, Cairo. JE 62035