The Tutankhamun Exhibit
Jewelry and Ornamentation
Necklace with Scarab with Falcon Wings Holding Infinity Symbol
Concealed beneath the twelfth layer of the linen bandages which enveloped the king's mummy were three necklaces with pendant-pectorals, one lying over the center of the thorax and the others supporting it on the left and right sides. The middle pectoral bore the Eye of Horus flanked by a vulture and a cobra, the pectoral over the right side of the body was in the form of a falcon with wings curved upwards and a solar disk with uraeus on its head, and the third pectoral was the one shown here. It represents a winged scarab holding in its forelegs the lunar disk and crescent and in its back legs the basin. Between the scarab and the basin, attached to each of them, are three gold bars. The whole piece is made of solid gold decorated on the outer surface with cloisonne work of lapis lazuli, carnelian and turquoise colored glass. In the lunar disk alone the gold is alloyed with silver. All the details of the elements in its composition are finely engraved in the gold base on the inner surface.
It is evident that the pectoral represents the throne-name of Tutankhamun, Nebkheperure, but two of its elements are not the regular hieroglyphic signs used for writing the name. The basin (heb) has been substituted for the basket (neb) and the lunar disk and crescent (iah) for the sun's disk (re). In both cases the substitutions can be explained as examples of artist's license, but the basin may have been intended to suggest the idea that the king would live to celebrate many festivals (heb). Carter thought that the moon's disk was intended to counterbalance the sun's disk of the falcon necklace on the opposite side of the central pectoral. He remarks, however, that all these pectorals showed signs of friction and it seems unlikely that they would have been worn as a pair by the king during his lifetime, though he may well have worn the individually.
Chains of plaited gold wire connect the pectoral with two inlaid gold lotus flowers and a heart shaped pendant separated by two carnelian beads. The pendant is inlaid with a cartouche bearing the king's name written in the normal manner and two uraei, one on each side of the cartouche. Since the lotus flowers have five holes and the pectoral is provided with a similar number of eyelets at the tops of the wings, it is probable that the suspensory chains were originally intended to consist of five strands of gold beads. The height of the pectoral is 9 cm and the width is 9.5 cm.