Walking stick of Tutankhamun

Walking stick of Tutankhamun. Egyptian Museum, Cairo. JE 61732
Walking stick of Tutankhamun. Egyptian Museum, Cairo. JE 61732

Most of the ancient Egyptian kings and nobles were depicted holding a cane or a staff as it was a sign of nobility as well as helping him to kneel upon it during old age. Although King Tut died at age 19 they found in his tomb (KV62) around 130 complete and fragmentary examples of sticks and canes from the Antechamber, the annex and the burial chamber.

This led Carter to believe that Tutankhamun was an amateur collector of walking sticks or canes. This cane is one of a group that depicts the enemies of king Tutankhamun. The king used these canes in ceremonies during his lifetime. Two of the king’s enemies are represented on this cane.

This cane is one of a group that depicts the enemies of King Tutankhamun. The king used these canes in ceremonies during his lifetime. Two of the king’s enemies are represented on this cane. The first one is a hairy Asiatic who is wearing clothing that is decorated with ribbons and with circular and floral designs. His hands, face, and feet are made of ivory to imitate his white skin. The second enemy is an African whose face and limbs are made of ebony that simulates his dark skin. He wears a pleated garment with multicolored streamers.

Carving of a Nubian captive adorns the handle of a walking stick recovered from the tomb of King Tutankhamun. Photo: Kenneth Garrett

When the king grasped this cane, the enemies were turned upside down so that they could not harm the king. At the other end of the cane, a papyrus bears the king’s cartouche.

From the Tomb of Tutankhamun (KV62), Valley of the Kings, West Thebes. Now in the Egyptian Museum, Cairo. JE 61732

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