.. The surface of the paintings was in an excellent state of preservation though it was speckled with innumerable tiny circular stains due to the development of colonies of micro-organisms. The decoration quite simple and ordinary in style: the northern wall, seen on entering the room, features Tutankhamen in the centre, wearing the dress of living, holding the sceptre and the ritual mace, before the goddess Nut, depicted in the act of performing the nyny ritual. This central scene is flanked by two others: on the Tutankhamen’s is shown dressed Osiris in the presence of Pharaoh Ay, his successor. Ay, wearing the costume of the sem-priest and the distinctive skin of a panther, officiates at the rite of the ‘Opening of the Mouth’, through which the deceased is revived. Tutankhamen is shown with his head draped in the nemes, and, followed by his ka, standing before Osiris.
On the adjacent western wall, are illustrations of passages taken from the Book of Amduat, showing the voyage of the sun barque through the 12 hours of the night, represented by 12 deities with the faces of baboons. The eastern wall illustrates the transport of the royal sarcophagus, set inside a shrine mounted on a sledge, drawn by 12 characters, of whom two are dressed differently from the others, indicating a superior social standing. The south wall was painted last, and is a scene of Tutankhamen, accompanied by Anubis, in the presence of the goddess Hathor. The centre of the room is now occupied by the quartzite sarcophagus containing the outermost coffin. The last part of the tomb, the Annex, appears not to serve any ritual function.
The contents of tomb are also an indication of the importance the Egyptians placed on the afterlife. It is not necessary to examine all the contents of the tomb, as this would be a painstakingly long and arduous task. To see the significance the Egyptian’s placed on the after-life, one need only examine a few of the articles found. One of the two life-sized statues which stood guard at the sealed door of the Burial Chamber, on the north side of the Antechamber. The two statues, almost identical except for their headgear, are made of wood, painted with black resin and overlaid with gold in parts.
They depict the pharaoh, or rather the pharaoh’s ka, in a striding pose and holding a mace in one hand and a long staff in the other. On the gilded triangular skirt, is written that this is the ‘royal ka of Harakhty’, the Osiris Nebkheprure, the Lord of the Two Lands, made just. Two life-sized wooden statues intended to protect the eternal rest of the Pharaoh. Tutankhamen’s mask, made of solid gold, was placed directly upon the pharaoh’s mummy, and had the function of magically protecting him. This beautiful object weighs 10 kg and is decorated with semiprecious stones (turquoise, cornelian and lapis lazuli) and coloured glass paste. The pharaoh is portrayed in a classical manner, with a ceremonial beard, a broad collar formed of twelve concentric row consisting of inlays of turquoise, lapis lazuli, cornelian and amazonite.
The traditional nemes headdress has yellow sripes of solid gold broken by bands of glass paste, coloured dark blue. On the forehead of the mask are a royal uraeus and a vulture’s head, symbols of the two tutelary deities of Lower and Upper Egypt: Wadjet and Nekhbet. A very fine shabti of Tutankhamen, portrayed holding the heqa-sceptre and the nekhakha-flail, and inscribed with a text from Chapter 6 of the Book of the Dead. This passage specifies the functions of these mummiform statuettes, made of wood, terracotta, faience or metal, and in some cases left in the tomb in their hundreds. The shabtis (a name that means ‘answerers’) were intended to work in the Afterlife in place of the deceased, who could command them by reciting a special spell.
In the New Kingdom especially the shabtis were considered as chattels, not unlike slaves. In Tutankhamen’s tomb, a staggering total of 413 shabtis was found, arranged in 26 coffers placed in the Annex and in the Treasury, but only 29 of them were inscribed with the text of the formula from the Book of the Dead. With the canopic chest, as seen in fig 1, the theme of fours in Egyptian thought and ritual is the most conspicuously manifest. While the embalmed heart was returned to the chest of the deceased, the liver, lungs, stomach, and intestines were separately packaged, coffined, and stored. Each of these was then under the protection of one of the Sons of Horus, Imset (or Amset) for the liver, Hapi for the lungs, Duamutef for the stomach, and Kebekhsenuf for the intestines.
Stone canopic chests typically have four chambers for the four coffins, closed with four stoppers, which themselves are either in the form of four human or of one human and three animal heads. With Tutankhamon we are fortunate to have the further equipment of the gilt shrine and sledge for the canopic chest, and the four guardian goddesses who watch over the whole, each identified by a symbolic device on her head: Isis watching over the liver from the southwest, her sister Nephthys watching over the lungs from the northwest, Neith, the ancient goddess of Sais, watching over the stomach from the southeast, and finally Serket, a scorpion goddess, watching over the intestines from the northeast. The figures of these goddesses are masterpieces of art, now available in endless reproductions. Tutankhamen’s royal Golden Throne was found in the Antechamber. The throne was made of wood covered with sheet gold, and adorned with semiprecious stones and coloured glass paste. His wife, Queen Ankhesenamun, whose head is adorned with two tall plumes and a sun disk, stands before the pharaoh, languidly seated on a throne; the queen places one hand on his shoulder while in her other she proffers a vase of scented unguents.
The rays of the sun god Aten shine upon the royal couple and endow them with vital energy. The influence of Amarna art and religious conceptions can be clearly seen in the sensitivity and naturalism of this scene. There was also a wooden shrine covered with thick gold foil, set on a wooden sledge encased with silver leaf, found in the Antechamber of the tomb. Originally it must have contained a gold statuette of the pharaoh, stolen during one of the two episodes of tomb-robbery which took place in antiquity. The walls of the shrine are covered with scenes executed with exquisite craftsmanship depicting scenes of hunting and everyday life, featuring the pharaoh and his wife, Ankhesenamun.
A ivory headrest, depicting the god Shu, the god of air and breath, was found in the annex. It was there to ensure a supply of air for the sleeper (dead or alive). It was a symbol of resurrection, because it enabled the head to breath, by lifting it up from the prostrate position of death. There was also a pair of wooden sandals, overlaid with marquetry veneer of bark, green leather and gold foil stucco. The sole was decorated with figures of Asiatics and Negroes where the king could trample on them.
These shoes, however are very uncomfortable to wear and it seems they were constructed for the king to wear in his next life. A number of lamps were found in the burial chamber, placed there for the King to use as he made his journey to the underworld. They were amazing works of art, decorated with detailed paintings of the king and queen. This was also the resting place of the three coffins, and of course, the mummy. The mummy itself is an excellent example of the Egyptians belief in the after-life. The concept of mummification was practiced because of the belief that after death the soul would return to the body and give it life and breath. Household equipment and food were placed in the tomb to provide for a person’s needs in the afterworld.
The ceremony opening of the mouth was carried out by priests on both the mummy and the mummy case in order to prepare the deceased for the journey to the afterworld. This was an elaborate ritual which involved purification, censing (burning incense), anointing and incantations, as well as touching the mummy with ritual objects to restore the senses. Inside the bandages that wrapped the mummy, lay a number of different objects the King was supplied with for use in his after-life. He was supplied with a gold dagger and sheath to protect him during his journey to the after-life, and 143 amulets and pieces of jewelry were scattered through the several layers of bandages that wrapped his corpse. In conclusion it is possible to say that Tutankhamen’s tomb gave the modern world an excellent insight into the Egyptian’s belief in the after-life.
Both the tomb itself, and its contents, show how much importance the Egyptians placed on the doctrine of Eternal life, and how strong their belief was that their King would be resurrected as a god. Thus, the tomb of Tutankhamen and its contents show that the Egyptian concern for the after-life, was very strong, and that they went to great lengths to ensure that the eternal life of their kings. Bibliography Works Cited Gardiner, Sir Alan. Egypt of the Pharoahs. Great Britain: Oxford University Press. 1966 Lehner, Mark.
The Complete Pyramids, Solving the Ancient Mysteries. Great Britain: 1977 Thames and Hudson The Internet Chronology of the New Kingdom Tombs of the Valley of the Kings Model tomb in the American Museum of Natural History Manchester Metropolitan University’s site on the Tomb of Menna Philosophy of History Philosophy of Religion (Copyright (c) 1997 Kelley L. Ross, Ph.D. All Rights Reserved) Art Essays.