King Tutankhamun upon a Panther

 King Tutankhamun figures

 This collection of hardwood figures buried with Tutankhamun (about 32 statues in total) were found divided between the Antechamber, Burial chamber and the Treasury of King Tutankhamun Tomb . Seven of them represented the king himself while the rest included a strange group of divinities or maybe representing the king himself in the form of those divinities maybe to acquire their blessings. These statues were mostly gilded or black in colour, both colours are associated with regeneration and rebirth. 
They were wrapped in linen shawls with the manufacture date of the 3rd year of Akhenaten’s reign. The greater number was recovered from the Treasury, where they had been crammed into 22 double-doored shrines of black resin-coated wood mounted on sleds and with sloping roofs. The doors of only one of those shrines had been opened by tomb robbers while the seals of the remainder had survived untouched since Tutankhamun’s funeral.

King Tutankhamun upon a Panther

 They were mainly made out of wood covered with gold leaf. The eyes of all figures are framed in bronze and inlaid with glass or semi-precious stones except for Qebehsenewef and Dwamwtef whose eyes are simply painted in black. The fittings, including the objects they carry and their sandals, are of gilded copper-alloy. The bases of the majority of the statues are inscribed with the coronation name (niswt bity) of Tut: Nebkheperure, beloved of “the appropriate diety”.

Figures of Gods or Divinities function:
According to HOWARD CARTER, these figures of gods or divinities represent a record of myths and beliefs, ritual and custom, associated with the dead and the afterlife. But their exact meaning in the burial is not clear to us, they might have represented good or evil and or they may have some form of magic associated with them.

Some scholars suggested that TUTANKHAMUN is represented in the form of these deities but we don't have a strict meaning for that. Maybe he wanted to embody some of their aspects in the afterlife. Others suggest that the reason for placing them in the tomb might be due to the fact that the ancient Egyptians were religious people so they were hoping for these deities to accompany them in the afterlife?!

King Tutankhamun statue upon a Panther

  This statue was found together with its pair covered with linen shawls in one black shrine in the Treasury; here we can see the king represented standing upon a panther. The statue is made out of gilded wood representing the king in the traditional royal attitude with his left-leg stepping forward. He is wearing the white crown of Upper Egypt with the uraeus upon his forehead for protection. He is wearing a wide collar (wsx collar) and the royal kilt (Sndyt). 
He is holding in his right hand the nxx or the flail and a long staff in the other hand both these objects are made of gilded bronze. The uraeus upon his forehead and the sandals are made out of bronze. The eyes and eyebrows are inlaid with glass. The king is represented standing upon a panther, which is a probably a sign of power and his wish to overcome the problems to be faced in the afterlife. 
The panther’s body is made out of wood covered with black resin except for the facial markings and interior of ears, which are gilded. The name of the king is painted in yellow on his pedestal. We don't know exactly the purpose of this representation. There are some theories about this unusual position:

1. Maybe to prove his power and strength being in control of a panther.

2. Maybe by standing on the panther he is confirming his authority on foreign lands; in this case the animal would represent the enemy.

3. Maybe this position is connected with a funerary concept dealing with triumph over the dangers of the Netherworld so it is probably because the panther would help him in his journey in the afterlife because according to an archaic belief, the panther represented the night sky which symbolizes the underworld while the king is assimilated to the sun by the golden tan of his skin, thus proving his triumph over death and conquering the underworld.

4. The panther probably represents here the goddess Mafdet who accompanied the king on his journey to the beyond. Mafdet was a guardian of the dead, it was her task to fend off the hostile snakes which were awaiting them in the beyond. Some spells in the book of the dead are dedicated to the killing of snakes. In the underworld, Mafdet even becomes the helper of the sun god and overcomes the serpent-like Apophis.

Similar panther statues were found in other royal tombs e.g. Amenhotep II, Thotmose IV and Horemheb but the statues discovered were not connected to the figure of the king; they only had mortises at the back, which would be later connected to the king’s figure. Also there is a depiction on a wall in the tomb of Seti II in the same position but the king is standing upon a lion not a panther, so we knew that this representation had some kind of a funerary context although its nature is completely obscure.

Reading Mode :
Font Size
lines height