Tut Exhibit - King Tutankhamun Exhibit, Collection: Furniture and Boxes - Inlaid Chair

The Tutankhamun Exhibit

Furniture and Boxes

Inlaid Chair

Inlaid Chair

Found in the Annex amidst a group of domestic furniture, this elaborately inlaid wooden chair was considered by Carter to have been most likely a "chair of state" or an "ecclesiastical throne". In form, the chair is a composite, uniting the curved seats of ordinary stools, the legs of folding stools, and the back, with its three vertical supports, of chairs commonly found in the New Kingdom and before. The crossed legs ending in the heads of fowl are parallel to the legs of an imitation folding stool found in the Antechamber. The borders of the seat, made of ebony, inlaid with ivory, imitate the hide of an animal, while the seat itself is composed of inlays of stained ivory arranged in panels imitating insets of a variety of skins. The underside of the seat is covered in real leather. The floral motif between the legs, damaged in one of the ancient intrusions into the tomb, is a frequently used heraldic element in chairs and stools.

The rectangular panels of the seat reflect the architectonic design on the back of the chair. Inlaid with ivory and ebony, they contain hieroglyphic inscriptions with designations of the king. The decoration on the upper portion and the borders includes sheet gold and inlays of colored glass, faience and semiprecious stones. The chair itself, a hybrid of designs, contains references to the traditional religion of ancient Egypt: the goddess Nekhbet and the sacred eye of Horus are represented in gold on the reverse side of the back. Nekhbet can be seen also on the upper part of the seat, and above her is a frieze of serpents with the solar disk upon their heads. The majority of the inscriptions (all of the vertical ones) have the early name of the king, Tutankhaton; his later name, Tutankhamun, occurs as well (in the horizontal inscriptions). It appears that the chair must have been produced at the time when the traditional religion and that of the Aton coexisted. There are references to several gods of the Egyptian pantheon as well as to the Aton; the word "gods", which had been eliminated in strict Atonist religion, appears once again.