Treasures of Ancient Egypt Day 21: Mannequin of the Boy King

I love this mannequin. It’s so simple and inexpensive compared to most of the bling which surrounded it in the first chamber of Tutankhamun’s tomb. Our best guess is that it was used as a dummy for storing the boy king’s many elaborate pectorals (a pectoral is an ornamental breastplate, like the Necklace of the Sun on the Eastern Horizon which we looked at on Day 12).

The mannequin (or mannikin, as Howard Carter spells it) is a life-sized model of Tutankhamun from the waist up, wearing a white linen tunic and a yellow flat-topped crown. It was ‘peering out’ from among the golden chariot parts when Carter first looked into the tomb on 26 November 1922. Here it is in his own handwriting, part of his diary entry that day:

Here is the mannequin being carried out of the tomb to a storeroom where it could be examined and catalogued.

from the Harry Burton photo archive

And here it is in the storeroom.

from the Harry Burton photo archive

And here is a newspaper article by Howard Carter describing how he found the tomb. There’s that mannequin again, peering out from the sepia page at thousands of eager readers.

The black and red cobra on the front of the crown depicts the goddess Wadjet. You wouldn’t mess with someone who had a cobra goddess on their head, would you?

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Stephen Davies

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

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