The Tutankhamun Exhibit
Basic Funeral Equipment
Innermost Golden Coffin
Like the internal organs of the king, his mummy was also within several series of containers. Three mummiform coffins, one inside the other, and weighing over three thousand pounds, were inside a carved quartzite sarcophagus, whose cracked lid was made of granite. The four goddesses, Isis, Selket, Neith and Nepthys, each carved on a corner, spread protective wings around the sides and utter words on behalf of the deceased king. A wooden canopy with a linen pall with golden rosettes covered the sarcophagus. Four gilt outer shrines, each one adorned with vignettes from funerary texts, were built one over the other; the outermost one of which almost reached the ceiling and was barely two feet from the wall.
When finally extricated from the almost glue-like unguents poured over each coffin, the golden coffin was found to weigh more than two thousand pounds. Slightly more than six feet in length and four feet in width, it is almost one eighth of an inch thick. Lying within the second mummiform coffin, the gold coffin was covered, except for the head, with reddish linen. A stiffened bead and floral collar adorned the neck.
Colored glass, faience and small pieces of semiprecious stones form the inlays that cover the upper portion of the coffin and include the eyes, eyebrows and false beard of the king. Strands of gold and faience beads, similar to the gold of honor, hang around the neck. An inlaid collar is over the upper part of the chest, while two vultures, one with the head of a serpent, adorn the arms, abdomen and sides of the figure and parallel the vulture and cobra goddesses upon his brow. A feather pattern and the protective goddesses, Isis and Nepthys, are engraved on the lower part. An inscription in two columns is found on the lower part of the coffin, and Isis, engraved on the foot, spreads out her protective wings and utters the statement, among others, that Tutankhamun will be strong and vigorous and that he will achieve a spiritual state in heaven.
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