Mystery has always been present in our lives from the beginning of the humanity. Mystery is what precipitates our curiosity, it makes us wonder, it encourages us to investigate. Mystery creates wonder, and wonder is the basis of men’s desire to understand; it has always been and it will always be. The way the Tutankhamun’s mask is made is by itself magnificent, all the details, every part of it is simply perfection, informing us how wealthy and how respected Tutankhamen was in his time. This mask is making him even after 3000 years a very significant person in Ancient Egypt. Nevertheless, the real value of Tutankhamun’s mask remains an actual enigma.
Tutankhamun’s mask or also known as funerary mask of Tutankhamen is one of the most prominent works of art worldwide. In order to discern the veridical importance of this mask, one needs to go renege to Ancient Egypt; back to where it all started. All pharaohs wanted to demonstrate how wealthy they are; one way of showing that was by building enormous pyramids, a place were their body will be buried after their death. Tutankhamun’s burial chamber was located at the Theban Necropolis in the Valley of the Kings and it was discovered in 1922. Carter sent a telegram to England saying: “At last have made wonderful discovery in Valley,” he told his benefactor, Lord Carnarvon, “a magnificent tomb with seals intact; re-covered same for your arrival; congratulations.” The excavation team who was led by Howard Carter needed two more years to be able to open the sarcophagus containing Tutankhamun’s mummy. ” We opened their sarcophagi and their coffins in which were, and found the noble mummy of this king equipped with a falchion; a large number of amulets and jewels of gold were upon his neck, and his head piece of gold was upon him…” Extract from the confession of an ancient tomb robber.
Around 1343 bc, a 10 years old boy named Tutankhamen, ascended the throne and take the control over Egyptian superpower. The meaning of his name is ” living image of the Aten (the solar disk) “. Although this is the meaning of his name he reinstate the traditional pantheon of gods and reopening their temples. In honour of the god Amun Ra ( god of the Hidden Light – king of gods) he and Ankhesenpaaten (queen of the Eighteenth Dynasty of Egypt) changed their names to Tutankhamen and Ankhsenamun. After only 9 years of jurisdiction Tutankhamen was death. There were a lot of intrigues about how king Tut died. As menationed in the introduction the actual value of this mask is a real mystery. Since the mask was discovered there were a lot of speculations about it. According to some speculations this mask was initially made for his mother. After careful examination of the hieroglyphic text there were evidences found that the Tutakhamun’s name was actually inscribed over an earlier individual’s name which appear to have given the full official nomenclature used by Nefertiti (his mother). Therefore, the new evidence claimed that Nefertiti’s death mask was therefore never used in her tomb or in her funeral – but was instead put in storage and after a period of time was used for Tutankhamun.
The process of mummification was described by Herodotus in the book two of his Histories in the fifth century BC. He explained that there are three conditions that the mummified body can be; good, bad and indifferent. In spite of the fact that Tutankhamun’s mummy was preserved several centuries before the Greek historian was writing, had distinctly been considered according to a kind of the most convoluted: “…as much as possible of the brain is extracted through the nostrils with an iron hook, and what the hook cannot reach is rinsed out with drugs; next the flank is laid open with a flint knife and the whole contents of the abdomen removed; the cavity is then thoroughly cleansed and washed out, first with palm wine and again with an infusion of pounded spices. After that it is filled with pure bruised myrrh, cassia, and ever other aromatic substance with the exception of frankincense, and sewn up again, after which the body is placed in natron, covered entirely over, for seventy days never longer. When this period, which must not be exceeded, is over, the body is washed and then wrapped from head to foot in linen cut into strips and smeared on the underside with gum, which is commonly used by the Egyptians instead of glue. In this condition the body is given back to the family, who have a wooden case made, shaped like the human figure, into which it is put…”
Deepest within the coffin was the body of Tutankhamun with his funerary mask. The golden mask of Tutankhamun, which was exhibited in the Egyptian Museum in Cairo, was taken out of the glass case. A lot of experiments have been proceeded using XRDF setup in order to find out from what is the mask made of. When the mask is observed by naked eye king Tut’s mask looks to be made of solid beaten gold. Two kinds of colours can be distinguished, white gold or light blue sites on the neck and face, and golden gold on the other areas. The three parts of light blue or white gold areas, on the lower part of the eyebrow, the chin, and the hollow between upper and lower lips, were detailedly investigated in order to confirm whether or not any differences in chemical compositions existed among these areas. However the results showed that there are not significant differences, fundamentally the had the same XRF and XRD data. It is contrived of two layers of gold that were mould together weighting 10.23 kg (22.50 pounds). King Tutankhamun’s body was swaddled in linen band, the face and the shoulders were covered with the funerary golden mask. The death mask of Egyptian youngest pharaoh as mentioned, is a real history treasure, it is 49 cm deep, 39.3 cm wide and 54 cm tall. The funerary mask was is made of two layers of gold remarkably consistent in thickness and joined by hammering. Tutankhamen is represented wearing names (a striped head-cloth that was worn by ancient Egyptian pharaohs) with royal insignia of a cobra representing goddess Wadjet and vulture symbolizing goddess Nekhbet. This two goddesses are portrayed again his brow. Both of this objects has been fashioned from solid gold, who were invalid with blue faience, carnelian, lapis lazuli and glass. The eyes were made from translucent quarts backed with a touch of red pigment, while the eyes of the king Tut were made from quartz and obsidian and convey a distinctly life-like impression. As same as on the coffin the lapses-lazuli eye make-up gives a unique Egyptian kohl eye make-up. The reason why they were applying the kohl eye make-up is to protect their eyes from the sun’s glare, but also and for its beautifying effect. The thing that connects Tutankhamun to the image of a god with the inner coffin is the false beard. In 1925, when the mask was discovered a 2.5 kg gold beard was separated from the mask. The beard was enchased with blue lapis lazuli which gives a plaited effect. The inside of the mask is encrusted with Spell 151b from the book of the Dead, the meaning behind it is the road map for the afterlife. This specific spell that was encrusted on Tutankhamun’s mask means that the various limbs are going to be protected as he moves through the underworld.