King Tut’s Chair Damaged During Transport to New Giza Museum

The funerary mask of King Tutankhamun at the Cairo Museum, Egypt. Photo: Tim Graham, courtesy Getty Images.
The funerary mask of King Tutankhamun at the Cairo Museum, Egypt. Photo: Tim Graham, courtesy Getty Images.

More bad news for poor King Tut: during what should have been a routine transfer between museums, someone managed to break his chair, reports the Cairo Post.

The chair was being transported from the Egyptian Museum in Cairo’s Tahrir Square to the Grand Egyptian Museum (GEM), slated to open this summer in Giza. When GEM officials unwrapped the artifact, the base of the frame of King Tut’s chair was broken.

News of the incident, which took place in September and also damaged a sarcophagus, an offering table, and a marble vessel, follows a pair of negative news stories for the boy king. New research with high-tech 3-D imaging indicates that King Tutankhamun was crippled, with misshapen features—a far cry from the regal visage depicted in his golden burial mask (see Autopsy Unmasks King Tut’s True Face, And It Isn’t Pretty).

Then, as if to add insult to injury, the mask was damaged last year when inept restorers at the Egyptian Museum attempted to glue its beard back on with a harsh epoxy (see King Tut Damaged in Botched Repair Attempt). The rushed repair job was apparently made inside the museum galleries, during opening hours.

As outrageously misguided as the botched restoration to the beard on the funerary mask may have seemed, commenters on Facebook who had visited the Cairo institution noted that the shoddy workmanship and poor handling of the incident were par for the course for the museum. Thankfully, it appears that the mask can be fixed (see King Tut Restorer Transferred, Mask Can Be Fixed).

The 1922 discovery of King Tut’s tomb in the Valley of Kings by Howard Cater was a major archaeological find. It took his team eight years to catalogue and remove all the ancient artifacts buried in the tomb.

“The transporting process should be carried out by a specialized team with a high level of efficiency in packaging and opening the artifacts,” said the GEM official who announced the damage to the pharaoh’s chair in a statement. Despite the historical importance of the objects being moved, it would seem that sufficient precautions were not undertaken for the delicate procedure.

 

For more artnet News coverage of ancient Egyptian artifacts see:

Technology Lets Archaeologists Clone King Tut’s Tomb

Ancient Egyptian Cat Sculpture Headed to the Trash Sells for $80,000

Egypt Announces Discovery of Richly Painted 3,000-Year-Old Tomb

Terrorist Attacks Damage Egyptian Antiquities Museum

Egyptian Mummies Held by Florida Customs Officials


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