Treasures of Ancient Egypt Day 14: the wishing cup

Despite popular belief to the contrary, Tutankhamun’s tomb was not discovered in pristine condition. It had already been ransacked by thieves in ancient times. Around 60% of the small ornaments and jewellery were taken.

A lot was left, though. The four chambers of the tomb (antechamber, annexe, burial chamber and treasury) contained five thousand separate objects.

This ‘lotus chalice’ was one of the first things that Howard Carter clapped eyes on when he peered into the tomb by candlelight on that incredible day in 1923. It is an alabaster goblet in the shape of a white lotus flower.

Carter nicknamed it the ‘wishing cup’ because of the message written on it in hieroglyphs. The text reads: ‘May your spirit live, may you spend millions of years, you who love Thebes, sitting with your face to the north wind, your eyes beholding happiness.’

Carter so loved that inscription, he had it written on his own tombstone.

Both names of Tutankhamun (personal name and throne name) were inscribed in the centre of the lotus chalice. See if you can make out each individual hieroglyph.

For more about this stunning piece of treasure, see The Lotus Chalice on Wikipedia.

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Stephen Davies

Children's author: picture books, chapter books and YA novels

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