Top: a pair of the king’s heavy inlaid gold earrings.
Above: a detail of one of the elaborate calcite unguent or perfume jars. This one is fashioned as a standing lion, whose hollowed-out body contained the unguent. The teeth and tongue are made of ivory.
that he was not a sickly individual. He was healthy, slightly built but robust, with signs that he enjoyed a privileged lifestyle with as much food and drink as he wanted – as would be expected for a prince and then a king. The CT-scan, carried out in 2005 in the Valley of the Kings by Dr. Hawass, showed evidence that he suffered from a mild cleft palette. This did not develop into a hare-lip or other facial anomaly but may possibly have affected his speech, even slightly. He also had large frontal incisors giving him a substantial over-bite, characteristic of the Thutmoside family line – a feature not displayed on his glorious death mask or indeed in his facial reconstructions. Through the study of his body it has been possible to reconstruct the appearance of the king, and recent studies were made resulting in the reconstruction of his face by three international teams: American, French and Egyptian. They each produced something slightly different, showing uncertainty as to his actual features. However, there are some elements of his appearance that we know for certain, other than his overbite. For example, we know he had pierced ears, and there were a number of earrings discovered in his tomb. The hole in each of his ears was larger than a modern ear piercing, seven and a half millimetres wide, to receive the stem of his earrings. A number of questions
arise around this simple fact. Would he have worn earrings every day? Who would have chosen the most appropriate ones for him to wear? And how many odd earrings were there in his chambers where the other had become misplaced whilst hunting or playing in the gardens? Sadly the answers are unknown. Tutankhamun’s mummy also displayed a totally shaved head, as was traditional for many ancient Egyptians as a defence against head lice, which could not tell a royal head from that of a farmer. Tutankhamun probably had also started to shave his face, as would be expected of an eighteen-year-old, and boxes containing his razors were discovered in the tomb. One ivory box lists the items that were originally placed within: “The box of his Majesty – Life! Prosperity! Heath! – when he was a child. What is therein: copper razors, alabaster ewers.” The razors within the box were from his childhood and may have been used for shaving his head around his side-lock of youth, and as he grew older they may have been used for shaving his facial hair. On close examination, the mummy also showed no signs of pubic hair and it is possible that like many Egyptians he removed all his body hair, possibly with these razors as well, although perhaps there were different razors for different body parts. Once Tutankhamun had cleansed his body of all hair and impurities he would have adorned himself with perfumes and applied cosmetics. In thirty-five calcite jars in the Annexe of his tomb, over three hundred and fifty litres of perfume and oils were stored, although these jars were emptied by tomb robbers because of their high market value. There were also containers within the tomb for his cosmetics; one lid, which was separated from the rest of the box, bore a hieratic inscription: “The box of Pharaoh – Life! Prosperity! Health! – when he was a boy ... a stick for applying eye-paint.” This stick for applying eye-paint was no doubt a kohl sick, although it had been removed by the robbers, and also clearly belonged to him when he was a child, indicating that he wore eye makeup as a small boy. Did he learn to apply it himself? If so, these early practice runs were no doubt eye-catching, involv
ANCIENTEGYPTDecember 2007/January 2008