Tutankhamen Statue lying on a bier

Tutankhamun Statue lying on a bier with Ba bird and falcon

This miniature statue of the king Tutankhamun was found in the treasury room in a small oblong chest in King Tutankhamun Tomb , carefully padded with linen, which had disintegrated over the centuries. The beauty of this statuette lies in the fact that it was carved of a single piece of wood. It represents the king in mummified form lying on a funerary bier of lion form.

This Osiride figure of the king lies stretched out at length upon the bed, his head covered with the Nemes headdress bearing the royal Cobra at his forehead, his hands free from wrappings grasp the emblems of Osiris now unfortunately missing. The first evidence of this kind of statues come from the 13th dynasty belonging to king Khen-nedjer, it is displayed in the atrium of the museum.

Tutankhamun Statue lying on a bier with Ba bird and falcon

On the left side there is a figure of the Ba bird or soul, which is often depicted in the form of human headed hawk. When a man died it left him and went to heaven, where it lived with the gods and with the souls of the righteous but it was believed that the Ba descends from time to time to visit the body in which it formerly dwelt. The Ba bird protects the mummy with its left wing opposite to the figure of a falcon maybe representing god Horus, protecting the mummy with its right wing and they seem to be no less than manifestations of divine protection.

The falcon (among other birds e.g. the phoenix) is one of the forms that the deceased hopes to be transformed into as described in some chapters of the Book of the Dead. This statuette could be closely linked with the Book of the Imy-dwat, as according to some texts of the Imydwat, which is the afterlife book concerned with the eternal cycle of death and rebirth which in turn is closely associated with the setting and the rising of the sun. 
The principal aim of the sun god Re in the underworld is to be united with Osiris in order to receive the power to be reborn every day. The Ba bird or the soul of the deceased is identified with the sun god Re while the body of the deceased is linked with Osiris, so the union between Re and Osiris in the underworld was paralleled by the union of the soul and the mummy which leads to the resurrection of the king.
Once the king is resurrected he becomes Horus (falcon headed bird), who is the renewed manifestation of the deceased. If we look at the statuette from behind the head of the king while lying on the bier. His head is represented between the two lions, which look like a representation of the Akhet sign (sign of the horizon) in such a way that his head signifies the rising sun between the two mountains (represented as the lions’ heads). It also reminds us of the Aker legend.

This statue is believed to be related to the shawabti figures as a set of miniature implements: a pick, a hoe, a yake and two baskets of copper, similar to the equipment found with the shawabti figures was placed with this statue. Another interesting and historical point regarding this statue which confirms its association with the ushabtis is that it was made by the overseer of the works in the place of eternity, Maya who has dedicated a shawabti figure to the king.
Among his duties, he was responsible for the resealing of Tutankhamun tomb. During the reign of Tutankhamun Maya bore the titles:  "Overseer of the building-works in the place of eternity, overseer of the building-works in the west, overseer of the treasury, the king's scribe"

The inscriptions on the statue represent a prayer or plea from the deceased to goddess Nut to protect him and to identify him with the imperishable stars (the never setting circumpolar stars) in order to guarantee his successful resurrection,  also the king is said to be protected by ANUBIS, WSIR and by the 4 sons of Horus. They were depicted on the horizontal and vertical bandages of the mummified figure.

The line in the middle goes as follows:-"Dd mdw in wsir nsw nb xprw ra mAa xrw hA mwt.i nwt psS.T Hr.i di.tw.i m ixmw skw imy.t"

"Words spoken by the justified Osiris king Nb-khperu-Re .

Descend, O mother Nut and spread thyself over me and cause me to be with the imperishable stars that are in thee.”

In honour with Imseti, Hapy, Anubis who is in the embalming place of embalmment, Duamutef, Qebehsnewef, Horus and Osiris.”

Reading Mode :
Font Size
lines height