King Tut Funerary Mask Essay

808 words - 3 pages

The funerary mask of Egyptian pharaoh Tutankhamun, also dubbed by many as "King Tut," is considered one of the most familiar artifacts from Egypt's 18th Dynasty. Weighing in at approximately 24 pounds and measuring 21 inches in height and 15 inches wide, the mask was placed on the mummy of Tutankhamun upon his death in 1352 B.C. and remained undiscovered for centuries. Made primarily from solid gold, the mask was also inlaid with cornelian, obsidian, lapis lazuli, turquoise, quartz, and colored glass. Upon inspecting the backside of the mask, one can see that it had been inscribed with a series of spells and texts from the Egyptian Book of the Dead, of which were intended to protect the mask from all harm. The mask along with hundreds of priceless artifacts discovered in the tomb of the king are now housed in the Egyptian Museum in Cairo, Egypt.The Ancient Egyptians were firm believers in life after death, so much so that they strived to preserve the bodies of the recently deceased. This rather long process of embalming the dead, called mummification, was believed to help lost souls recognize and reunite with their bodies upon a proper burial. Primarily a practice reserved for kings and pharaohs, the mummies were buried in lavish pyramids or tombs along with their riches, furnishings, and other prized possessions to take with them to the afterlife. When the young Egyptian pharaoh Tutankhamun died at the of 19 after ruling for a decade's time, the well recognized mask of today was used as a means to ensure the spirit of the king would be able to recognize his body.Tutankhamun's golden funerary mask portrays the late Egyptian pharaoh wearing a royal headdress, also known as a "nemes." The stripes depicted on the headdress "are made of blue glass in imitation of lapis lazuli, and the same material has been used for the inlay of the plaited false beard (The Tutankhamun Exhibit)." Atop the forehead of the mask displays the vulture and the cobra, both of which consist primarily of solid gold along with other materials such as carnelian, faience, lapis lazuli, colored glass, and quartz. Also known as uraeus, the rearing cobra symbolizes Lower Egypt and serves the purpose of protecting Tutankhamun through the means of spitting fire at approaching enemies of the pharaoh in the afterlife. The vulture, on the other hand, symbolizes Upper Egypt and is considered to be the creature nearest to God who resides above us all. Both pieces were beautifully crafted and well suited for protecting the pharaoh from harm throughout his journey into the afterlife.As one of the most distinguished works of...

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