Tut Exhibit - King Tutankhamun Exhibit, Collection: Jewelry - Pectoral with Solar and Lunar Emblems representing King Tutankhamun

The Tutankhamun Exhibit

Jewelry and Ornamentation

Pectoral with Solar and Lunar Emblems

Pectoral with Solar and Lunar Emblems

The central motif in this gold cloisonne pectoral is a scarab of translucent greenish yellow chalcedony that serves as the body of a falcon with wings outstretched. It has the forelegs of a scarab and falcon's legs of gold. In both talons it grasps the hieroglyphic sign shen and in one an open lily, in the other a lotus flower and buds. Bordering this motif on each side is a cobra with the sun's disk on its head and a long tail extending upwards to form an outer frame for the tops of the falcon wings. A band of blue and red disks stretches from one cobra to the other beneath the winged scarab.

In Egyptian symbolism the sun-god could be represented both as a scarab and as a falcon. Composite forms of two related symbols were common in Egyptian iconography as a way of indicating two originally separate conceptions that had been fused in the course of time.

The designer of this pectoral, having produced a twofold symbol of the sun, repeated the technique, but less effectively, in the case of the moon. Above the winged scarab, supported by its front legs and the tips of its wings, is a gold bark, its hull inlaid in the center with turquoise. That it is the bark of the moon is shown by the left "Eye of Horus," which was one of the symbols of the moon. Two cobras with sun's disks flank the eye, perhaps as symbols of Upper and Lower Egypt, on both of which the moon shines. The eye alone would have been enough to indicate that the bark belonged to the moon, but the artist has added to it the disk and crescent of the moon. The disk is appropriately made of silver, and applied to its surface are small golden figures of the ibis-headed moon-god Thoth, the king, and Ra-Harakhty. Thoth and the king wear the moon's disk and crescent and Ra-Harakhty wears the sun's disk with uraeus.

As a kind of fringe at the base of the pectoral are the blue lotus flowers, complex buds, and papyrus flowers projecting from poppy buds, all separated at the point where the stem joins the flower or the bud by roundels of concentric circles. This pectoral is inlaid with carnelian, lapis lazuli, calcite, obsidian (?), turquoise, and red, blue, green, black and white glass.