funeral couches Tutankhamun

Treasures of Ancient Egypt Day 15: three animal-headed funeral beds

There were three golden funeral beds in the antechamber of Tutankhamun’s tomb. Howard Carter noted in his diary the ‘grotesque shadows’ cast on the wall by these animal-headed funeral beds.

The one in the middle is cow-headed. The one on the right (tail only visible) is leopard-headed. The one on the left is a crazy mashup of different animal parts. It has a hippo’s head, a lion’s body, and a crocodile’s tail. In its open mouth, you might just be able to make out her ivory teeth and red-stained tongue.

Originally, these beds would have been used to mummify bodies, but in the tomb they serve as excellent shelves for Tutankhamun’s treasure. The white wooden boxes beneath the ‘heavenly cow’ are full of bread and meat, to keep the boy king well fed on his journey to the afterlife.

Published by

Stephen Davies

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

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