Was King Tut's mask really made for him? Credit: Wikimedia Commons

King Tut’s Mask May Not Have Been His

Many of the treasures in King Tut's tomb were not his originally.


British professor-egyptologist Joanne Fletcher has put forward a brand new hypothesis about the origin of the famous golden mask of Tutankhamun.

She included the theory in her new book “Valley of the Kings: The Golden Age of Egypt”.

Despite a number of well-founded arguments, Egyptian scientists were quick to refute the bold assumption.

King Tut’s mask has always been subject to controversies

1. The mask of Tutankhamun was discovered by British archaeologist Howard Carter in 1922 along with some 5000 other artifacts. Now, this artifact is kept in the Egyptian Museum in Cairo. In her research, Joanne Fletcher claims that the famous mask of Tutankhamun was originally made for some other powerful and popular ruler.

2. Perhaps, the expert believes, it even belonged to a woman, for example, Queen Nefertiti. According to her, the mask depicts the pharaoh with pierced ears, while Tutankhamun, according to Fletcher, had no pierced ears.

3. The Egyptologist explains that the mask cannot have been made for a male and one of the reasons is the two different alloys used for its creation. Furthermore, there are traces of soldering which suggests that Tutankhamun’s face was added at a later stage rather than during the original making of the mask.

4. However, Egyptian experts hastened to disagree with the opinion of the British professor. For example, the famous Egyptologist and ex-Egyptian minister of antiquities Zahi Hawass noted that all pharaohs of the 18th dynasty wore earrings. He also stated that the mask would have had the name of Queen Nefertiti or any other ruler if it had been created for someone other than King Tut.

5. Hussein Abdel Bazer, director of the Museum of Antiquities at the Library of Alexandria, said there has always been controversy over the mask of Tutankhamun. In particular, it was believed that it could have belonged to Queen Meritaton, daughter of Pharaoh Akhenaten. But this hypothesis has not been confirmed.

6. While many of the artifacts in the tomb did not belong to the boy pharaoh, there should be no doubt that the mask belonged to him.

7. Regarding the differences in the gold color of the upper and lower parts of the mask, the expert explained that the yellow-gold color was associated with the worship of the god Aton and symbolized the Sun.

8. Egyptologist Bassam al-Shamaa also does not believe that the artifact could not have belonged to Tutankhamun. According to him, funeral masks did not always reflect the real features of the deceased pharaohs; more often they were made in the form of the face of the god Osiris.

9. Probably, discussions on this topic will continue. We add that King Tut’s golden mask weighs more than 10 kilograms, its height is 54 centimeters. It is made of two types of gold alloy: 18.4 carats for the face and neck and 23.4 carats for the rest of the mask.

10. By itself, this artifact represents the face mask of the ruler with a false beard. On the reverse side, there is a hieroglyphic text, which, as shown by previous studies, is a magic spell designed to help the deceased move to another world.

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Hosny, H. (n.d.). Egyptologists refute British Theory DOUBTING King Tut’s mask.
Marie, M. (2021, July 15). British Express: Tutankhamun’s mask may have been Nefertiti’s. EgyptToday.
Rattini, K. B. (2021, May 3). Tutankhamun-facts and information. Culture.

Written by Vladislav Tchakarov

Hello, my name is Vladislav and I am glad to have you here on Curiosmos. As a history student, I have a strong passion for history and science, and the opportunity to research and write in this field on a daily basis is a dream come true.

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