The Tutankhamun Exhibit
Gold Gilded Wooden Chariot
Introduced into Egypt by the Hyksos in the sixteenth century B.C., the chariot was throughout the New Kingdom closely associated with the king, who is constantly shown dominating the field of battle, the reins around his waist, firing his bow. Chariots begin to appear in Egyptian wall reliefs and paintings from the early 18th dynasty, and are mentioned as diplomatic gifts in the correspondence from el-Amarna. Until the discovery of Tutankhamun's tomb only two complete vehicles were known - one now in Florence and another from the tomb of Yuya and Tjuyu - together with a miscellaneous array of chariot fittings and fragments from other tombs in the Valley of the Kings and elsewhere. The burial of Tutankhamun yielded six complete but dismantled chariots of unparalleled richness and sophistication, four found at the southeast end of the Antechamber and two along the north wall of the Treasury. Each had had its axle sawn through to enable it to be brought along the narrow corridor into the tomb, and each had been broken down into its component parts for compactness when stored. Thrown about when the tomb was robbed, and roughly handled when the burial was tidied up, the confused and precarious heaps into which these parts had been thrown were a nightmare to untangle. But, after much delicate preservative work, five of the six chariots could be reassembled for display in the Cairo Museum.