The Tutankhamun Exhibit
Statues, Sculptures and Containers
Wooden Model of Tutankhamun's Mummy
This miniature wooden version of the innermost burial equipment of Tutankhamun had its own outer wooden coffin. Although placed in the Treasury, it resembles the mummy of the king and the carved wooden funerary couch in the shape of a lion that supported his three outer coffins in the Burial Chamber. The horizontal and vertical inscriptions on the figure are representative of the golden bands around the mummy; they invoke the goddess Nut and refer to the king as revered before several gods. The hieroglyphs carved between the legs of the couch give the titles and name of the official Maya who, it is recorded, made the the statuette for his lord, Tutankhamun. In addition, Maya, who also dedicated a shawbti figure, may have taken a prominent role in the building of the tomb, since he holds the title "Superintendent of Building-Works in the Necropolis".
Although model tools like those found with shawbti figures accompanied the statuette, it is unlikely that this object, which has no parallels, served the same purpose. The birds at each elbow, although not quite freestanding, are almost completely carved away from the single block of wood from which the piece is fashioned. One of the birds has the head of a human, and such a figure is a traditional representation of an element of the personality called a ba (sometimes referred to as a soul). The other appears to be a falcon and may, according to the funerary literature, represent one of the manifestations of the deceased. It is possible, however, that it too is an element of the personality. The kings of ancient Egypt were identified with the falcon god Horus; they were his living embodiment. The figure of the falcon here may depict the ba or the ka of Horus, thereby portraying the divine nature of the pharaoh. The two birds, one human, one divine, would then be a concrete representation of the two aspects that constitute kingship in ancient Egypt.