Tut Exhibit - King Tutankhamun Exhibit, Collection: Other Items - Turquoise Glass Headrest

The Tutankhamun Exhibit

Other Items

Turquoise Glass Headrest

Turquoise Glass Headrest

Carter found four headrests made of different materials in a chest in the Annex. From the inscription in hieratic (script writing) on a similar box, he suggested that both chests originally contained linen and that the headrests were put in when the officials of the necropolis discovered the robbery and restored order in the tomb.

This headrest is made of a turquoise glass, while the others were composed of plain ivory, stained ivory and faience. It is constructed of two separate pieces that were joined by means of a wooden dowel. A sheet of gold embossed with a pattern of repeating hieroglyphs, ankh ("life") and was ("dominion"), conceals the joint.

The faience example found along with it is similar in design. The making faience, which includes ground quartz in its composition, represents a much older technique, predating glassmaking by more than two thousand years. Glassmaking was not perfected until comparatively late in Egyptian history - around the beginning of the Eighteenth Dynasty. Smoother in its surface than faience, it could be opaque like the example of translucent blue glass.

Because of the delicate nature of the material it is unlikely that the headrest was made for actual use; it was probably put in the tomb for ritual purposes. The vertical inscription incised in the central support identifies Tutankhamun by his throne name: "The Good God, Lord of the Two Lands, 'Ra is the Lord of Manifestations', given life like Ra."