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The hybrid Funerary bed of Tutankhamun

Goddess Ammut

The third bed depicts a composite deity having the head of a hippopotamus, the body of a leopard, and the tail and scales of a crocodile. This monstrous combination represents Ammut (amam: in ancient Egyptian language), meaning “Devourer of the corps”. This beast, as seen in the book of the dead, is ready to swallow the heart of the deceased who fails to be justified before the judgment of Osiris against the feather of Maat.

According to legend, Ammut also possessed a positive value: in the form of a sow (female pig) personifying Nut, the sky, who swallows the sun god Ra everyday in the morning and gives birth to him once more at night thus by placing the deceased on this bed, he is granted eternal reincarnation.

Also there is another point of view as regards the connection of the goddess Ammut with the sky, that is, the Egyptian system of constellations connected the hippopotamus with the northern sky that is why Taweret (composed of parts of the same animals) was depicted on the ceiling of the tomb of Seti I in the Valley of the Kings.

  The hybrid Funerary bed of Tutankhamun
The hybrid Funerary bed of Tutankhamun


The hybrid or hippopotamus Funerary bed of Tutankhamun 

This bed is made out of stuccoed gilded wood. It represents a hybrid animal composed of the head of a hippopotamus opening his mouth, his teeth are made of ivory and the tongue is made of ivory painted reddish colour to imitate the normal colour of the tongue. The eyes are inlaid with blue-coloured glass paste, showing a teardrop (for explanation, see above). The animal is represented with a leopard's body and a crocodile's tail and scales.

This combination represents god Ammut or amam in ancient Egyptian language, the Devourer of the corps which was normally represented with the head of a crocodile, the forepart of a leopard and the hind-part of a hippopotamus, but here the artist changed the style maybe to be able to maintain the slender appearance of the funerary bed or to avoid the representation of a hostile being within the tomb of Tutankhamun.