Pharaohs wore jewelry

4.5 - Pharaoh Tutankhamun's jewelry and clothing


Jewelry in all forms was extremely popular in ancient Egypt. Men, women and children carried Bangles, necklaces, collars, rings and earrings.
The most sought-after gemstones were lapis lazuli, carnelian and turquoise. In particular, precious metals such as gold and silver could mostly only be afforded by members of the upper class.
Jewelry was far from being used for adornment alone; its true value lay in that magical powerinherent in the symbols and stones used. They should protect the wearer from evil, grant fertility and longevity, cure diseases, and much more.
So it is not surprising that a pharaoh - as the supreme lord of the country and guardian of the cosmological world order - was endowed with the strongest protective symbols and most valuable materials that the mighty ancient Egyptian empire could produce.

Flowing robes like Tunics, long dresses and pleated skirts protected the people of ancient Egypt from the scorching heat of the sun. The lower classes of the population wore coarser and rougher fabrics, some even just a loincloth.
These garments were mostly made of Flax or linenthat was obtained and woven from the large-scale flax plant. It was possible to dye the fabrics with vegetable dyes, but they were usually left in their natural light beige color. Elaborately embroidered patterns, ornaments and pearls distinguished the finer pieces. The royal robe also had its own symbolism, which was reserved only for the pharaoh.
Even sandals were not always worn by the common people, they were also walking barefoot from time to time. As a civil servant, nobleman or member of the royal family, you naturally had shoes that were appropriate to your status, made of leather, papyrus or other natural materials.

Among the fabrics and clothing discovered in the tomb are some of the best-preserved textiles from the time of ancient Egypt. Tunics, shirts, sashes, skirts, loincloths, neck scarves and headscarves, bonnets, belts and gloves - but also special one-off pieces like the leather one Breastplate of the king or fragments of "Sem" priestly robes made of leopard skin. However, many of the leftover textiles could no longer be saved from deterioration.

The over 200 unique pieces of jewelry of the grave illustrate the immense splendor that was bestowed on a pharaoh - and are in truth only a fraction of what the young ruler was actually given on his last journey. From the labels on the jewelry boxes detailing the original contents, Howard Carter guessed about that 60% of the royal jewelry looted by the ancient grave robbers had been.
But even the remainder is one of the greatest treasures ever discovered - and resurrects the sublime appearance of an ancient Egyptian ruler from the past.







- Scarab bracelet -


The heir to the throne and later child pharaoh Tutankhamun wore the finest jewelry from childhood. This particular bangle indicates this with its small size and clear signs of wear. Unlike many other pieces from the grave treasure, it was not made especially for the funeral, but carried by him as a child.

It consists of high quality gold with inlays of lapis lazuli, carnelian, turquoise, quartz and colored glass beads. The central motif is a raised relief Lapis lazuli scarabresting on the bangle.
Scarabs are images of a beetle named "Holy Pill Rollers"which is widespread in almost all of Africa. After mating, this forms a ball of manure and rolls it backwards until it buries it in a suitable place in the ground. The female lays the eggs on the buried ball of feces, on which the larvae later feed.
The ancient Egyptians considered this animal to be divine, because it was with "Cheper", associated with the appearance of the sun god Re as a rising sun, who rolls the sun ball across the sky during the course of the day. As Symbol for resurrection and self-renewal it was widespread on jewelry.
The scarab as the hieroglyph "Cheper" is also part of the throne name of Tutankhamun ("Neb-Cheperu-Re"), which is why we come across it particularly often among the pieces of burial equipment.

The sides of the bangle are decorated with an ornament of two poppy flowers made of inlaid carnelian, two gold rosettes and a mandrake fruit made of quartz.
Along with other royal possessions, the bangle was in the Cartridge chest found from the treasury. It was opened by a hinge, locked by a bolt that you put through the small eyelet on the other side.

- Duck head earrings -


Also in the Cartridge chest a total of 5 pairs of earrings were found. Including these in the shape of a bird, which are among the most beautiful that have survived from ancient Egypt.

The ear plug on the top, which you put through the earlobe to fix it, has two sealing caps made of quartz disks. One of the discs is flanked by two uraeus snakes and thus becomes a symbol of the Sun disk. Inside this solar disk there is a tiny, painted image of Tutankhamun.
The central motif of the earrings hangs down from two blue ring-shaped eyelets Falcon with duck head. The colorful hawk wings inlaid with quartz, calcite, faience and glass spread out in a ring and touch each other at their tips, so that an almost perfect circle is created in their center. In this middle sits the duck's head made of semi-transparent, blue glass.
The horizontally stretched raptor claws, in turn, hold two "Schen" rings, a symbol of eternity.
A wire is attached to the golden, ornate bar below the tail feathers, which carries the pendant made of geometric patterns and cylindrical strings of pearls.
5 urea at the end of the cords form the bottom of the earrings.

Tutankhamun's mummy clearly shows that he had pierced ears. It is believed that he already had the pieces found in the tomb worn as a child Has.
Crafted so finely and of high quality, they were once a suitable addition to the royal regalia of the child king, and glowed from a distance in the characteristic colors of Egypt.

- King earrings with urea -


Another of the 5 exquisite pairs of earrings from the Cartridge chest .
The ear pegs are similar to those of the duck head earrings, but the caps are a little thinner and only inlaid with a circular pattern made of glass and carnelian. Presumably they were each flanked by a pair of Ureae, of which only one of the snakes has survived, made of encrusted gold and with a sun disk on its head (here far left).

The central motif of the earrings, on the other hand, is intact. A stylized falcon with outstretched wings, the shape of which was inlaid with carnelian, painted and covered with transparent quartz, forms the link to the large ring of (partly heavily tarnished) gold below.
In the middle of this ring, which is decorated all around with pearls made of gold, carnelian and glass, there is one Carnelian figure of the king. With its red color, carnelian could symbolize fire and blood, strength and power, among other things.
The figure is flanked by gold inlaid with glass and calcite Urea with the sun disk, a sign of power and protection of the Pharaoh.
The small king figure bears two pharaonic insignia: on her forehead there is another, tiny golden uraeus snake, and in her right arm she holds a thin crook made of gold wire, the "Heqa" scepter of rule.
The ensemble of figures stands on the colorfully inlaid "Heb" symbol, the hieroglyph for "festival".
Finally, six ball strings made of glass, carnelian and gold hang from the pearl hem, ending in larger pearl pendants.







- Gold bangle with turquoise and gold bracelet with lapis lazuli -


28 bracelets, bangles and bangles were kept in the innermost coffin Tutankhamun's mummy found, 15 of them the dead king carried in his arms. These two are two of them, they were on the left and right forearms, respectively.

The bottom of the left copy is made of 4 golden, semicircular bent papyrus stalkstied together in 3 places. The papyrus stalks end in 4 papyrus flowers on the sides of the bangle; between and next to them sprout 5 papyrus buds made of gold and electrum that have not yet blossomed.
The ornament on the top is decorated with spiral and geometric patterns made of tiny gold pearls and gold wire. In the middle there is a slightly protruding turquoise, inlaid in a gold mount. The Semi-precious stone turquoise was considered the sacred stone of the goddess Hathor and a symbol of heaven.
By pulling the small bolt from the side lock and opening the bracelet on the hinge on the other side, you could put it on comfortably.

The flexible part of the right bracelet is made of 9 strands of pearls, all made of gold except for the middle one, here pearls made of blue glass and carnelian were used.
The central element is a golden disc, decorated with patterns that closely resemble those of the left bangle. They are grouped in a circle around one Inlay made of lapis lazuli. Lapis lazuli was also a coveted semi-precious stone in ancient Egypt, its deep blue color resembled the night sky and should have divine properties.







- Bracelet with Horus Eye -


Another noble bracelet of the dead Pharaoh, it was on the right forearm of the mummy. The flexible part consists of 9 rows of gold, faience and glass beads. The symbolic motif of the bracelet is a Horus eye, also "Udjat" eye called, from deep red Carnelian. It is the ancient Egyptian hieroglyph for "intact, complete, healthy".
The shape and the eyebrow are modeled on the human eye, while the lines below correspond to the drawing of a hawk's eye.
There is one at the front of the eye Uraeus snakewho wears the double crown of Upper and Lower Egypt.
The bracelet was closed again by a small bolt that was put through the small eyelet on the side.
An inscription on the back reads something like: "Lord of the Two Lands, image of Re, Neb-Cheperu-Re, ruler of all that is right, he was given eternal life like Re."

The Horus eye is the left eye ("moon eye") of Horus, which according to myth he lost in the fight with the god Seth. With the help of Hathor, Thoth or other deities, depending on tradition, he got his eye back safe and sound.
This eye was the symbol for everything with Completion and healing was related, but was also with Protection, Perfection and Power connected. It was one of the most common magical amulets, a symbol of protection against all imaginable dangers.
It should also give the deceased the ability to look outward toward the rising sun.

In addition, it became a Calculation for dimensions of capacity used, the fractions are given with parts of the eye. The individual parts correspond to certain fractions that add up to 63 / 64ths. According to tradition, Thoth did not find the missing sixty-fourth.







- Ivory bangle and limestone bangle -


Scattered on the floor of the Side chamber of the tomb, buried under countless artifacts piled on top of each other, gradually a number of small parts came to light. These two pieces were also among them.

The left bangle is made of ivoryin which grooves have been milled for decoration. A bronze plaque with gold inlays sits on both sides of the bracelet. You can see it here Throne name of Tutankhamunwhile on the back the king in the form of a lion tramples an Asiatic enemy and is protected by a winged goddess.

The bracelet on the right consists of crystalline, marble-like limestonein which a diamond-shaped Pattern made from lapis lazuli inlaid, rimmed with thin gold.

Howard Carter referred to the two pieces in his notes as anklets, which was doubted in retrospect. The only thing that is certain is that it seems impossible to slip the left specimen over a normal foot, since it cannot be opened or bent.







- Three rings from Tutankhamun's mummy bandages -


The jewelry collection that Tutankhamun was given to the afterlife also includes dozens of finger rings. Carter found 13 of them when removing the mummy bandages on the Back of the hand of the dead king lying, including these 3 rings.

The top of the Double ring made of transparent, light green chalcedony (top left) is engraved with the Figure of Tutankhamun (right cartridge) in front of the God "min" (left cartridge).
Min was the god of male procreation and fertility. The male potency takes on visible form in his illustration with closed legs and erect phallus. He lifts his right arm at an angle and holds a whip in his hand. On his head he wears a crown with two towering feathers and a long ribbon that falls back over his back.

Also the golden ring with scarab made of milky chalcedony (bottom left) was part of that group. On the underside of the viewing area (not visible here) the god "Thoth" has been engraved with an "Udjat" eye in his left hand and an ankh in his right hand.
Thoth was god of the moon, penmanship, magic, time and science. He was also seen as a helper for the dead, whom he assisted on their journey through the underworld.

The triple ring with scarab (right) is the most complex of this group. Unfortunately only seen from one side here, it consists of three rings connected by gold wire, which end on both sides in a papyrus flower made of blue-green feldspar and two flanking flowers made of red carnelian.
On the cartridge-shaped top of the ring sits in the middle Lapis lazuli scarabwearing a small golden "Atef crown". There's one at the end of his head golden boat that carries the lunar disc; on the other side (seen in the picture on the left) a falcon spreads its protective wings. A carnelian sun disk rests on the falcon's head, the wings are inlaid with green feldspar and lapis lazuli. The god "Re-Harachte", a manifestation of the sun god Re, is usually depicted as a falcon-head with a sun disk on his head.
Thus, the moon and the sun face each other on the ring.
On the underside of the viewing area (not visible here) the god "Thoth" is engraved again, this time with a moon disk on his head, as well as the king's throne name.