The Tutankhamun Exhibit
Basic Funeral Equipment
Sarcophagus of Brown Quartzite
The box of this fine sarcophagus is made of brown quartzite and the lid is made of pink granite tinted to the color of the box. Why two different stones should have been used is not obvious, unless the reason was that the intended quartzite lid was not ready in time for the funeral and a granite lid of indifferent quality, which happened to be available, was substituted for it. There was another puzzle too: the granite lid was broken in two and the fracture, which was concealed with cement and paint, must have occurred before the shrines were put in position. No explanation seems possible, except that the king's premature death made it necessary to hurry the work and an accident happened.
Symbolism for magical purposes was an important feature of Egyptian funerary equipment. On the sarcophagus it is seen most clearly in the graceful figures of four goddesses, Isis, Nephthys, Neith, and Selket, carved in high relief on the corners, their wings outspread to protect the body within the sarcophagus.