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Nicholas Reeves lecture "Beyond the Mask of Tutankhamon
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Naunacht
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PostPosted: Mon Mar 07, 2011 1:11 pm    Post subject: Nicholas Reeves lecture "Beyond the Mask of Tutankhamon Reply with quote

I had the good fortune to attend a lecture by Nicholas Reeves at the Metropolitan Museum in New York yesterday. This really was good fortune, because I had absolutely no idea that this lecture was scheduled. My husband and I decided to go to the Met because it was raining, it was also the first Sunday in the month and Bank of America has a program for its customers that gives you free admission to selected museums--including the Met on the first sunday of the month. I had wanted to see the Horemheb exhibition. My husband wanted to see "Guitar Hero" an exhibition of musical instruments and so we went.

Once in the museum, our first stop was the restrooms in the Egyptian Department, near the Ptolomaic mummies opposite the auditorium. As I came out of the ladies room I noticed a sign outside saying that there was a lecture by Nicholas Reeves today at 3:00. I checked my watch. It was 2:55. Was this my lucky day or what.

The lecture focused on the mask of Tutankhamon and on the implications new discoveries in the Valley of the Kings, e.g. KV63. A few key points.

Reeves believes that the mask was originally made for Nefertiti in her role as co-regent for Akhenaton towards the end of his reign. When Tutankhamon died suddenly before having put together his own funeral equipment, Nefertiti's unused tomb furnishings were recycled and adapted for his use.

Reeves is of the opinion that KV 55 is Akhenaton and Tutankhamon was the son of Akhenaton and that Nefertiti was king Neferneferuaton.

The face of the mask is of a different type of gold from the headress. The blue inlay on the headress is glass--the inlay on the face is lapis lazuli.

The ears were originally pierced through and later covered over with gold leaf in order to disguise the fact that they were pierced. According to Reeves, male kings were not depicted with pierced ears unless they were depicted as a juvenile.

The mask is damaged. Some of the damage was done by Howard Carter in trying to get the mask out of the coffin but there are some unexplained dents on the front that seem to have been done at the funeral itself.

Reeves conjured up a rather horrific scenario where the top heavy mummy wearing its mask, may have fallen over during the Opening of the Mouth ceremony. Reeves believes that a wooden frame, found in KV63, may have been used to hold up Tut's mummy during the ceremony. When you look at the frame (bed) his theory makes sense.

http://www.kv-63.com/photos2009.html

Reeves also held out the possibiity that the tomb of Nefertiti is out there somewhere, possibly with a set up burial equipment made for her after she became a fully fledged independent pharoah.

In all it was an interesting lecture. Naturally, not everyone's going to buy the entire package but it was an interesting way to spend the afternoon.
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PostPosted: Mon Mar 07, 2011 5:34 pm    Post subject: Reply with quote

Very interesting, some things about the mask I knew already. I never heard about the frame to hold up a mummy for the ceremony of the “opening of the mouth”. The construction does indeed look like it was designed to stand up. Thanks for sharing.
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PostPosted: Mon Mar 07, 2011 9:05 pm    Post subject: Reply with quote

Ranoferhotep wrote:
Very interesting, some things about the mask I knew already. I never heard about the frame to hold up a mummy for the ceremony of the “opening of the mouth”. The construction does indeed look like it was designed to stand up. Thanks for sharing.


Reeves said that this lecture was the first time he was publicly airing this theory. And yes, if you look at the frame you could see how it could work. It almost looks like a hand truck without the wheels or the handles. You could strap the body with it's heavy gold mask to the frame and hopefully keep everything together in an appropriately dignified manner during the ceremony.

He also said that he believes that two small holes in the mask were used to wire the flail which was held in the mummy's left hand in place. They may have done a couple of practice runs and found out that it kept getting dislodged.

If King Tut did take a nosedive during the Opening of the Mouth Ceremony I for one would not wanted to have been the guy who prepared the king's mummy. I personally think that Ay must have had a royal fit. Talk about your bad omens.

Historical novelists take note!
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PostPosted: Tue Mar 08, 2011 12:18 am    Post subject: Reply with quote

Hi Naunacht,
It certainly was your lucky day. I read about on the Met website but didn't want to travel that far for a lecture.

Did he go into any more detail as to why he thinks Nefertiti was the original owner?

http://www.nicholasreeves.com/item.aspx?category=Writing&id=332

Quote:
There are also the ears. These have piercings for earrings, subsequently plugged with small gold discs. Pharaohs rarely wore ear ornaments beyond childhood, Reeves notes, but women wore them frequently. This suggests that the ears belong with the prior headdress, not with Tutankhamun’s face mask.

This bold suggestion is corroborated by the presence on the concealed undersides of the suspension bands of a scarab on the corpse and two ornamental side-straps of intact cartouches with the name of Ankhkheprure Nefernefruaten.


Reeves put this up on his website (I think he's fibbing about publicly airing the theory, unless he's changed it). Ahkenaten, to name another also had pierced ears, or is Reeves saying that the holes were open and would have had earrings in them?

Did he say anything about the two ornamental side-straps? I'm assuming they were not attached to the mask itself and it's just circumstantial evidence that since Ankhkheprure Nefernefruaten was plastered on x amount of Tut's stuff the original mask owner must be that name.

It's funny that the "world's richest burial" contains mostly second hand goods. Makes me wonder what type of loot someone really rich, like AIII got.
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Ranoferhotep
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PostPosted: Tue Mar 08, 2011 5:16 pm    Post subject: Reply with quote

I think Reeves had posted these remarks about the mask already on his site. I remember a photo of an x-ray taken from the mask which distinctive show the welding joints. Also the remark that the mask was composed of two different categories of gold I knew already. I can’t really remember whether I’ve read that on Reeves site, but in any case this information was available online.
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Lutz
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PostPosted: Tue Mar 08, 2011 6:20 pm    Post subject: Reply with quote

Naunacht wrote:
... lecture by Nicholas Reeves ... focused on the mask of Tutankhamon ... the mask was originally made for Nefertiti in her role as co-regent for Akhenaton ... When Tutankhamon died suddenly before having put together his own funeral equipment, Nefertiti's unused tomb furnishings were recycled and adapted for his use. ... The ears were originally pierced through and later covered over with gold leaf in order to disguise the fact that they were pierced. According to Reeves, male kings were not depicted with pierced ears unless they were depicted as a juvenile. ...

Unfortunately, the mummy of Tutankhamun has ear piercings. See for that :

The Griffith Institute ---> Tutankhamun : Anatomy of an Excavation ---> King's mummy ---> Carter No. : 256 / Burton photograph : p0809.

And there are at least five pairs of Earrings as grave goods, see Carter No. : 269 a (1-3 & 5-6).

Greetings, Lutz.
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Naunacht
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PostPosted: Tue Mar 08, 2011 7:22 pm    Post subject: Reply with quote

Regarding the pierced ears.

Reeve's theory was that a mature king might very well have pierced ears and wear earring in life, but this was not shown in official portraits. Oddly enough, a king portrayed as a juvenile with the sidelock of youth, could be portrayed wearing earrings. He showed pictures of the lotus head Tut, and reliefs of Amonhotep I and Ramses II both sporting the sidelock and earring.

As to why he seemed positive that the mask originally belonged to Nefertiti, Reeves adheres to a fairly simple reconstruction of the Armana succession.

Akhenaton--Neferneferuaton Nefertiti--Tutankhamon.

If the mask originally belonged to a female king then in this reconstruction you really only have one choice.

Apparently he his not a fan of the Smenkhare/Meretaton theories. In his reconstruction KV 55 is Akhenaton and Tutankamon is Akhenaton's son.

I would have loved to ask him about it but there were quite a few people around crowding around him after the lecture and since I dragged my husband into this lecture and the Horemheb exhibit, I kind of had to go with him to see Guitar Heroes before the museum closed. Smile

Finally, if King Tut's burial equipment was a collection of royal hand-me-downs you do have to wonder what sort of things long lived kings who had years to assemble their burial suite, like Amonhotep III had in their tombs.
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PostPosted: Tue Mar 08, 2011 8:44 pm    Post subject: Reply with quote

Naunacht wrote:
... Reeve's theory was that a mature king might very well have pierced ears and wear earring in life, but this was not shown in official portraits. ...

Nice theory. Unfortunately it is at least in the case of the kings from Amarna in all and Tutankhamun in particular not supported from the findings (statues).

I just took a short look inside the catalog "Pharaohs of the Sun : Akhenaten, Nefertiti, Tutankhamen" (London : Thames & Hudson, 1999) and have found several examples for statues of the kings Akhenaton and Tutankhamun showing them with pierced ears (by the way also Paris, Louvre N 831). Even if Tutankhamun lends his face to the god Amun there are...

Naunacht wrote:
... to wonder what sort of things long lived kings who had years to assemble their burial suite, like Amonhotep III had in their tombs.

Too, there are quite different and contradictory opinions ...

Greetings, Lutz.
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Sothis
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PostPosted: Wed Mar 09, 2011 4:30 pm    Post subject: Reply with quote

The piercing of the ear lobes with one large hole is clearly a fashion for royal males of that time, beginning AFAIK with Tuthmosis IV. Independently from the question up to which age earrings were actually worn the pierced ears are about always depicted as such, even and especially in Tut`s adult representations such as the model bust or even the two black guardian figures.
Females however seem to have preferred two smaller piercings in each ear lobe as is evident from the mummies of Thuya and the Younger lady and several of Nefertiti`s representations. It was even one point which led Fletcher to the assumption the YL could be Nefertiti.

I wonder how Reeves can assume the mask to have depicted Nefertiti when it shows the typical male piercings.

Just remains the question why the holes were first made then covered with gold leaf.
Maybe in a sort of last-minute-decision it was not thought to be appropriate that Tut would appear before the gods with pierced ears?
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PostPosted: Wed Mar 09, 2011 8:11 pm    Post subject: Reply with quote

I had read a long time ago that the face and headdress of the funerary mask may not be a match (you can actually see slightly untidy join-work between the face and headdress in close ups), suggesting the piece had been reworked for Tut.

So I have no problem going along with that. Bit cheeky of Reeves to advance this as some sort of novel discovery or theory though.

And also not sure why it absolutely has to be Nefertiti either. (Unless he is forced into this position by having stated KV55 IS Akhenaten and Smenkhkare DOESN'T exist !! Cool
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PostPosted: Wed Mar 09, 2011 8:45 pm    Post subject: Reply with quote

Sothis wrote:
Just remains the question why the holes were first made then covered with gold leaf.
Maybe in a sort of last-minute-decision it was not thought to be appropriate that Tut would appear before the gods with pierced ears?


Or, it could be that the mask was originally created for Tutankhamun when he was a younger man (still considered a youth, with pierced ears) and the mask was kept aside until his death, when he was older (and when he died, he was considered under societal standards, a full grown male). However, as I note below, the earrings alone are not a sign of youth, IMO. No one is sure for ancient Egypt when, particularly in the case of role children, one officially passes from youth to adult status.

Naunacht wrote:
The ears were originally pierced through and later covered over with gold leaf in order to disguise the fact that they were pierced. According to Reeves, male kings were not depicted with pierced ears unless they were depicted as a juvenile.


BTW, I am looking at a detailed picture of the gold mask which Reeves contends that the ear-piercing was originally open and then covered with gold leaf. They are not: there ear piercing is clearly open and present, to wit:



So, I'm not clear what Reeves is contending, for this is what he said about the ears in 1990 in his own work, The Complete Tutankhamun:

Additional embellishment is alluded to in the pierced ears, which were covered with disks of gold foil when found. (Reeves 1990: 111)

Yet, when one looks at the images of the mask, in situ [(Image 2, Image 3)], one does not see any "disks of gold foil" covering the ear piercings. This is something I cannot explain, for they are also mentioned in Carter's notes (Carter 256a-1). However, they don't seem to have survived, if they existed, for they are not present on the in situ photos taken by Burton while the mummy was still in place in the coffin.

Naumacht wrote:
Reeve's theory was that a mature king might very well have pierced ears and wear earring in life, but this was not shown in official portraits. Oddly enough, a king portrayed as a juvenile with the sidelock of youth, could be portrayed wearing earrings. He showed pictures of the lotus head Tut, and reliefs of Amonhotep I and Ramses II both sporting the sidelock and earring.


Many people point to the fact that a child is always designated by a braided lock, often called the "child's lock of youth." This is probably a misnomer: a deity such as Khonsu is shown with the hair lock, although it is clear the deity is an adult. /iwn-mwt.f/ priests are shown with a 'child's lock' although many examples (I am thinking of particularly those in the Temple of Seti I at Abydos), it is clear the male is an adult, for he is also shown with a short beard as well.

Further, Akhenaten's daughters are shown with their "child's lock" long after they have become teenagers, and in the case of Ankhsenamun, even after she has become an adult and queen (on the Golden Shrine, she is shown no less than 4 times with the braided lock, and is designated as "Great Royal Wife" to Tutankhamun [AR8, BR3, CR3, and DR2). In the scene of the "Lassoing of the Long-Horned Bull" in the Temple of Seti I at Abydos, a young, but at least teenage, Ramses (II) is shown performing this act with his father, Seti I, and here again, Ramses is shown with the hair lock. Yet as can be seen, he's given the task of grabbing onto the bull's tail, which implies he was not a child when he performed this feat.



So, if a single piercing is noted on Tutankhamun's earlobe, this may refer a fashion which later went out of style. I would disagree with the statement that only children wore earrings, for it's very clear that Tutankhamun likely wore earrings during his time as an adult king as well. The Golden Shrine shows Tutankhamun's pierced earlobe in no less than 9 scenes, and in one scene [BR1], he appears to be shown wearring earrings as king.

So, along with the inclusion of earrings in Tutankhamun's tomb, and this scene, this indicates that Tutankhamun likely wore earrings at least for a part of his royal life; as such, this means that wearing earrings probably have nothung to do with being a juvenile, contra Reeves' contention.

There are other examples of Tutankhamun being shown with a clear indication of s single ear piercing, and in this case, even in "official" representations (again, contra Reeves' statements). Here are a few examples from Tutankhamun's tomb, for instance:









However, the point about the double-piercing of the ear as being a sign of an Amarna female is well-taken. The double-pierced ear shows up in several representations of Nefertiti at Amarna, while Akhenaten at Amarna is shown with a single ear piercing during his adult life.

So, it's probably not the hair lock, or even earrings, which designates the age of an individual.

Janssen and Janssen (2007: 90-91) have noted that in ancient Egyptian autobiographies, when a male individual wished to note his passage to adulthood (usually into his career, or take on adult responsibilties such as education), he would refer to this period as when he "knotted the band." This is thought to express the time which meant that a male started wearing the gala-kilt, which indicated his entrance into training (if an official) and assumption of adult responsibilties, including marriage. Here's an example of this style of kilt: note the knotted band at the waist.



So, perhaps we're making too much out of this earring business as saying something about the owner. I do think that Reeves is mistaken that the gold mask was made for a female, because of his assumption that "male kings were not depicted with pierced ears unless they were depicted as a juvenile." This can be shown, in the case of Tutankhamun, to be demonstrably untrue.

Reference:

Eaton-Krauss, M. and E. Graefe 1985. The Small Golden Shrine from the Tomb of Tutankhamun. Tut'ankhamun Tomb Series. Oxford: Griffith Institute.

Janssen, R. M. and J. J. Janssen 2007. Growing Up and Getting Old in Ancient Egypt. London: Golden House Publications.

Reeves, N. 1990. The Complete Tutankhamun: The King - The Tomb - The Royal Treasure. London: Thames and Hudson.
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PostPosted: Wed Mar 09, 2011 8:53 pm    Post subject: Reply with quote

ELISE wrote:
I had read a long time ago that the face and headdress of the funerary mask may not be a match...

From Reeves ... The lecture by him at the Metropolitan Museum in New York probably contained nothing that was not previously expressed by him on a previous occasion, some years ago (my impression).

ELISE wrote:
... (you can actually see slightly untidy join-work between the face and headdress in close ups), suggesting the piece had been reworked for Tut. ...

Of course, you can see the seams of the soldering of separately manufactured parts (see for that also the comparative pieces in the tomb treasures of Tanis). This can probably be in the process of producing almost inevitable, but says nothing at all regarding a possible revision.

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PostPosted: Wed Mar 09, 2011 9:11 pm    Post subject: Reply with quote

Hi Katherine,
neseret wrote:
... BTW, I am looking at a detailed picture of the gold mask which Reeves contends that the ear-piercing was originally open and then covered with gold leaf. ...

see for that Carter No. : 256 a / Burton Photograph : p0754. See also Carters Handlist Description (Card / Transcription No. : 256 a - 1) :

Quote:
"... The face with pierced ears (afterwards covered over with gold foil) ..."


Greetings, Lutz.
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PostPosted: Thu Mar 10, 2011 2:49 pm    Post subject: Reply with quote

Lutz wrote:
Hi Katherine,
neseret wrote:
... BTW, I am looking at a detailed picture of the gold mask which Reeves contends that the ear-piercing was originally open and then covered with gold leaf. ...

see for that Carter No. : 256 a / Burton Photograph : p0754. See also Carters Handlist Description (Card / Transcription No. : 256 a - 1) :

Quote:
"... The face with pierced ears (afterwards covered over with gold foil) ..."



I see: this is Burton's-post removal photo of the mask. My point is that you do not see these disks in the ears of the mask when it's still in situ in the coffin (note the 3 images I posted URL's for in my previous post). My question is, why not?

Had the disks slipped out? Were they removed for some reason by Carter and his team? Why are they not present when the mask is still on the mummy in Burton's pre-removal photos?

Of course, in Burton Photo p0754 the disks appears as "plugs" over the ear holes (as if Tutankhamun were wearing plug earrings similar to Carter 269-A(6)).

Nowhere in the Murray-Nuttall handlist (nor the Griffith Institute's online list, as far as I can see) are these foil disks stated as saved.

It would have been interesting to note if they were solid enough to have had a "post" through the ear-holes and if a disk was present on the back of the ear. That would argue that rather than attempting to "hide" the earholes (which I contend was probably not the case), they were in fact representations of a plain gold ear plug to keep the earhole decorated.

Whatever the case, I can't see the earring plugged with disks as a valid argument that the mask was made for a female. As noted earlier, one clear ear hole per ear appears to have been common for royal males, and in particular, Amarna adult males. But it appears that women wore similar styled earrings as well.

Interestingly, disk plug earrings are often said to have been a feature of Kiya and her daughters, due to representations such as this:


Brooklyn Museum 60.197.8, (Aldred 1973: 164-165, No. 92)

while evidence of the same earrings on the Berlin statue of Nefertiti (Nefertiti at an older age; Berlin 21263) indicates that disk earrings may have been a fashion enjoyed by all Amarna royals, and not just Kiya.


Berlin 21263, (Arnold 1996: 79; No. 68, 69, and 71)

Dorothea Arnold described the ornamentation as follows:

The queen's ears are adorned with disk-shaped earrings in front and in back of the earlobe; the two disks are connected by a stud. (Arnold 1996: 79)

In Tutankhamun's tomb, both Carter No. 269-A(5) and 269-A(6) are similar styled disk earrings.

Of course, even the dangling earrings (Carter 269-A(1) and 269-A(2)) use the same mechanism to affix the earrings through the ear, but the decorative features run parallel to the ear and profile, while the decorative features of Carter No. 269-A(5) and (6) face outward from the face.

Plug-style disk earrings appear on the royal daughters in various scenes in Amarna tombs (de Garies Davies 1903-1908), and, of particular importance, also on the ears of the ladies-in-waiting and on females in crowd scenes as well (de Garies Davies 1903-1908; Aldred 1973), which argues that the plug disk earring was a fashion style not limnited to the royal household.

Reference:

Aldred, C. 1973. Akhenaten and Nefertiti. New York: Brooklyn Museum/Viking Press.

Arnold, D. 1996. The Royal Women of Amarna: Images of Beauty from Ancient Egypt. New York: Metropolitan Museum of Art/Harry N. Abrams, Inc.

de Garies Davies, N. 1903. The Rock Tombs of El Amarna, Part I: The Tomb of Meryra. Archaeological Survey of Egypt. London: Egypt Exploration Fund.

________________. 1905. The Rock Tombs of El Amarna, Part II: The Tombs of Panehesy and Meryra II. Archaeological Survey of Egypt. London: Egypt Exploration Fund.

_________________. 1905. The Rock Tombs of El Amarna, Part III: The Tombs of Huya and Ahmes. Archaeological Survey of Egypt. London: Egypt Exploration Fund.

_________________. 1906. The Rock Tombs of El Amarna, Part IV: The Tombs of Penthu, Mahu and Others. Archaeological Survey of Egypt. London: Egypt Exploration Fund.

_________________. 1908. The Rock Tombs of el Amarna, Part V: Smaller Tombs and Boundary Stelae. Archaeological Survey of Egypt. 17th Memoir. London: Egypt Exploration Fund.

_________________. 1908. The Rock Tombs of El Amarna, Part VI: The Tombs of Parennefer, Tutu and Ay. Archaeological Survey of Egypt. London: Egypt Exploration Fund.
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PostPosted: Thu Mar 10, 2011 2:50 pm    Post subject: Reply with quote

The ear lobes really appear to be covered in image 3 of neseret`s post and at least one in the picture posted by lutz. So the story seems to be true.
To stay a bit longer on the topic of the pierced ears I think that the contemporary artists/sculptore just represented what they saw, which were pierced ears without earrings. Neseret points out that many or in fatc most of Tut`s representations show the piercings and if I understand her correctly she suggests that this means he might have worn earrings much of the time.

But to me it seems the piercings are only still there because holes of that size (about 1cm diameter) will hardly grow over or even disappear even if nothing is inserted into them anymore. They are simply too large. And if earrings had still been worn they would probably have been depicted.

I have checked the image on the golden shrine in which Tut is said to wear earrings. I rather think that the circle under the earlobe here is a trace of a messed up earlobe which was too big. If you look at the other picture on the shrine you will notice that the ears where visible appear rather oddly shaped, especially in the well-known perfume-scene. Here we can see a large circle around the earlobe which clearly represents the ear itself. Besides, there are AFAIK no plain loop earrings in Tut`s treasure which could have been represented here.
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