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Tutankhamun Lamp

The Chalice Lamp of King Tutankhamun

It was found in the burial chamber and one of two calcite lamps found in Tutankhamun's burial chamber.  It takes the form of a thin walled lotus flower. It has handles with openwork decoration. The handles and the cup are resting on a base taking the form of a table.

The handles represent GOD HEH, god of millions of years, kneeling on the neb sign and papyrus plants with raised arms holding with one hand the ankh sign while in his other hand he is holding the notched palm reed. Between the two signs, there is the cartouche of the king.

Tutankhamun Lamp

Tutankhamun Lamp

The most fabulous thing about this piece is the way it has been executed. It is made out of two layers of alabaster. The outer cup is made of thin layer of translucent alabaster then another container, which is smaller in size is placed inside it. The outer surface of the inner cup is decorated with a colourful scene which makes it appear that the lamp is painted from inside.

The scene which is inside the lamp represents the king while seated on his throne holding the ankh sign while his wife is standing in front of him presenting to him two notched palm reeds, rnpt sign, sign of million of years. The scene is inscribed with the cartouches of the king and his wife.

This elaborate decoration celebrates the wish for unity and a long reign for the pharaoh. The lamp was supposed to be filled with oil, perhaps sesame oil or castor oil, then lit by means of a floating wick.

It is noticeable that lotus flower is a common representation on most of the alabaster containers of this collection because lotus is one of the flowers which has a fragrant smell especially the blue one and it's a suitable motif for the decoration of unguent or perfume containers.