Tut Exhibit - King Tutankhamun Exhibit, Collection: Other Items - Royal Scepter

The Tutankhamun Exhibit

Other Items

This royal scepter

Royal Scepter

This scepter is made of sheet-gold beaten on a wooden core. The shaft is in the form of a papyrus flower and stem; it is embellished at each end with a feather design in cloisonne work inlaid with carnelian, turquoise, lapis lazuli, felspar, faience and glass. Embossed on one side of the blade are rows of trussed and slaughtered bulls, partly dismembered, beneath a frieze of lotus petals between borders of checker and diamond patterns. On the other side of the blade, beneath a similar frieze, is an inscription which reads: 'The Good God, the beloved, dazzling of face like the Aten when it shines, the son of Amun Nebkheperure, living for ever'.

Scepters of this kind have three names in Egyptian texts, kherep 'the controller', sekhem 'the powerful' and aba 'the commander'. They were carried as symbols of authority from very early times, but no distinction can be drawn between their various uses. In temple ritual and in the mortuary service the aba scepter was often held by the officiant who presented the offerings. If the sacrificial offerings shown on the blade of this scepter are indicative of its use, it probably represents the aba scepter, but precise identification is not possible. It was found in the Annex where it had probably been taken from the Treasury by the robbers.