TAA i.3.23.1 = page I
(1) For the shrines in situ see photos, negs: 603, 625, 627, 628, 632, 638, 640, and 644.
For process of dismantling do., see photos, negs: 605, 608, 629, 634, 635, 641.
(2) See J.E.A., vol. iv., 130ff., pl. xxix.
(3) See Mr. L. A. Boodle's report ...
The quartzite sarcophagus containing the king's coffins was completely shielded by a series of four sepulchral shrines, nested one within the other, and between the third and fourth outermost shrines a linen pall was spread over a large wooden support.
The lay-out of these shrines and pall for this burial of a Pharaoh is revealed in an ancient Egyptian papyrus - A Project for the Tomb of Ramesses IV - now in the Turin Museum.(2) Their arrangement in this tomb is shown in the plan of the sarcophagus chamber (pl. ...).
The four shrines are made of cedar, oak and Christ's thorn wood(3). The planking employed varies from 9 to 25 cents. wide, and from 3 to 12 cents. in thickness; the panel boards from 2 to 25 cents. in width and from 5.5 to 7.5 cents. thick; in accordance with the size of the shrines.
The outer and inner surfaces of these shrines are entirely coated with gesso, and overlaid with a thick layer of gold laid on as gold leaf; upon which surface religious representation and texts have been beautifully engraved in both incised and bas relief. In addition to this decoration, the outermost shrine has its external panels and doors inlaid with blue faience (i.e. blue glazed pottery).
TAA i.3.23.2recto and verso = note (A)
In my "card index" records, Mr Lucas adds the following note: -
"Several specimens of gesso have been examined: all consisted of carbonate of lime (i.e. whiting, chalk) mixed with glue and in no case was there any admixture of sulphate of lime (gypsum). Carbonate of lime in this form possesses no adhesive property whatever and it was in order to make it cohere and adhere that glue was added."
"The specimens of gesso examined varied from 0.1mm to 1.0cm."
"In many cases a layer of coarse woven fabric is used underneath gesso to enable it better to adhere to the material on which
it is placed which is generally wood, but occasionally faience."
TAA i.3.23.3 = page II
(1) See The Tomb of Tut.ankh.Amen, vol. II, Appendix II, p.172.
With reference to the mechanical gilding and the prepared surfaces of gesso, Mr A. Lucas says:- "Beneath the gold when it occurs on wood, there is as a rule a coating of white plaster termed "gesso", which consists of whiting to which a little glue has been added to make it cohere. This is identical with the material used by modern picture-frame makers for plain gilt-mouldings, gesso being employed instead of plaster of Paris because this latter is not sufficiently hard to permit of the burnishing of gold. (1)"
Dr. Alexander Scott, in a letter addressed to me, dated February 1931, said: - "I believe I have made quite an interesting discovery concerning the overlying gold leaf and gesso work upon the sepulchral shrines. I had some small pieces which I brought away in 1924, and I did observe then when detaching the gold leaf by means of dilute acid in order to measure its thickness that there was a semi-transparent residue which was practically of the same shape and size as the piece of gesso. At this time I thought it was only gelatine or albumen which had been rendered insoluble by time, etc., and put it down the sink. Repeating this work about three weeks ago, I made some further experiments with another fragment and found this semi-transparent residue to the leather, or at least the skin of an animal. This skin had been embedded in the white powder which seems to be
TAA i.3.23.4 = page III
(1) See fig. ... (filed under gesso)
nothing but pure calcium carbonate free from any calcium sulphate and mixed with glue or gelatine, not albumen ... When one thinks of it, it is easy to see why the damp skin was used, specifically if the gesso was to be thick and receive deep markings."
The discovery of animal skin employed in the gesso preparation to receive the overlay of gold has been confirmed by Dr. H. J. Plenderleith, of the British Museum Research Laboratory, who kindly examined for me some more specimens from the shrines. In his note, dated August, 1933, he says: "The shrines were enriched by a covering of thin gold laid on a gesso consisting mainly of carbonate of lime. In the specimens examined the gesso varied in thickness from 1/16 to 1/8 of an inch, and the gold from the finest leaf to gold sheet or foil of about 1/10 m.m. thickness ... The gesso contained the remains of organic tissue which proved on examination to be animal skin. It was found possible to isolate the tissue and to confirm the identification by cutting a section. This showed the presence of several hair follicules which may be easily seen in the accompanying micro-photograph. (1) The outside of the hide was next to the gold."
"The object of providing such a resilient cushion beneath the gold is entirely a matter of conjecture, but it seems likely that it was to afford a suitable surface for tooling. If this be the case one sees here the genesis of a technique which was exploited to such advantage some hundreds of years
TAA i.3.23.5 = page IV
(1) Cf. Lucas, The tomb of Tut.ankh.Amen, vol. II, p.172 ff.
later in the decoration of Persian and other book-bindings."
In most cases the gold overlay is evidently of a very good quality, for it still retains its yellow brilliance and doubtless corresponds to the "fine gold" referred to in the Ancient Egyptian Records. In patches, however, or sometimes over a whole surface, it is varied in colour; its hue changing from a dull yellow to a dark-red or a dull-purple plum colour. The changes of colour are manifestly fortuitous, and are due to chemical changes (tarnishing) that had taken place during the time the shrines had been in the tomb. The tarnished gold undoubtedly contains proportions of other metals, such as silver, copper and traces of iron, but whether this is due to natural or artificial alloys has not been determined: in the case of these shrines it may probably be natural, namely, various qualities of native gold. In some instances the staining of the gold proved to be the result of organic matter which could be readily removed by heating.(1)
The architecture of these sepulchral shrines, built as if for immortality, is essentially simple. The modern designer has much to learn from the severity, yet grandeur, of their surfaces, set with the utmost nicety and care, and worked in the finest manner. Their now extinct shape
TAA i.3.23.6 = page V
(1) The first innermost shrine has a barrel-vault roof.
(1) Although absent here, on other monuments this roll member is decorated with a pattern <> representing the string binding.
is perfectly suited to their purpose and environment - the tomb. Their effect is rendered even more impressive by their gilded all-over decoration. Free standing they are of the simplest form. With one exception,(1) they are surmounted by a slightly elevated roof, which is curved in front and has a receding slope towards the back. The curved front of their
<> back front
roofs is effectively decorated with the winged solar disc, which is also employed to decorate the "chief beam" over their doorways.
They are destitute of any but the simplest mouldings. They are merely crowned with what is called the "gorge" - an overhanging hollow moulding also known as the cavetto cornice, with a plain roll member beneath it which is also carried down the external angles of the corner posts. The hollow moulding of the cornices is enriched with a repeated palm-leaf ornament, which seems to have been derived from temporary wattle and daub fencing of palm-leaves: the tips of the palm leaves that projected above the fence being blown by the winds into an over-hanging curve; the roll member, or torus moulding, being the top horizontal rail to which the vertical stems of the leaves were bound.(1)
Below the roll member is a simple post and beam
TAA i.3.23.7 = page VI
under-structure, modified so as to be compatible with the art of the joiner. It comprises an all-round chief beam, four corner posts, side and back panels, dado and a sill. The corner posts have not only the important function of supporting the chief beam, but they form the styles of the side and back panels and act as the door posts in front.
A characteristic feature of these shrines is the batter (i.e. a receding slope from the ground upwards) which gives them an air of both strength and repose.
The incised and bas-relief work upon the panels has considerable architectural value. To decorate them with any completeness these must be subject material. Those ancient Egyptians were at no loss in this respect. With a thoroughness which has hardly been excelled, they engraved upon the gold overlay excerpts from the intricate systems connected with the dead: the "Book of what is in the Netherworld," describing the various regions traversed by the sun-god during his nocturnal journey underground from West to East; the "Book of Gates," dealing with the topography of the Netherworld; the "Litany of the Sun"; and a magical text recounting the "Destruction of Mankind," and the establishment in the heavens of the celestial cow-goddess. The chief beams and posts are filled with designations of
TAA i.3.23.8 = page VII
the King; the dados are enhanced by an arrangement of engraved shallow panels (see fig. ...); while a rectangular ornament travels round and frames the doors.
The joinery of these shrines shows much skill, and an intimate knowledge of construction as well as of the structure and nature of woods. Cedar wood seems to have been employed throughout for the planks and boards; while harder and tougher woods, like oak and Christ's thorn wood, were used for the cross-tongues that strengthened the joints and held together the various members and sections. In fact, throughout these four shrines there is a system of utilizing the different structural properties of woods, for certain purposes, which conforms with the most modern rules in the art of joinery.
The more or less standard sizes of the timber employed, suggests that the ancient Egyptian joiner, very much like the joiner of our day, had prepared balks, planks, deals, battens, and strips, from which he shaped his work. In point of fact, so much were the methods employed by those ancients the same as those of the joiner's art of today, to describe them one has but to quote from the latest article upon modern joinery, published in the Encyclopaedia Britannica (XIVth ed., vol. xiii, pp.120-7).
TAA i.3.23.9 = page VIII
(1) Cf. The Tomb of Tut.ankh.Amen vol. III. ch. v.
There it says: - "It is important that a joiner's work shall be constructed of sound and dry materials, and on such principles as to allow of movement due to changes of temperature and humidity." Now the condition in which the woodwork of these shrines was discovered, notwithstanding infrequent moisture having filtered into the tomb chambers, exposing the timber to periods of intense humid atmosphere, followed by long intervals of drought,(1) demonstrates that such precautions were taken into account. And although shrinkage did take place, causing the boards to become smaller and come away from one another, there were practically no signs of these warping or twisting. This suggests that the tendency of wood to warp and twist was provided against in the construction of these shrines: that the wood was evidently carefully selected, and in all probability "the direction of the annular rings in alternate boards reversed" before joining them up. "In joinery, strength depends to a large extent upon the rigidity of the joints." The different joints employed in the construction of these shrines, although of not great variety, nor of very complicated nature, show from their adoption, that their value in joinery was thoroughly understood. In some instances "to obtain an increased width of material" the simplest
TAA i.3.23.10 = page IX
(1) See note upon glue: - Lucas, The Tomb of Tut.ankh.Amen, Appendix II, p. 166.
type of joint was employed, such as "the square or smooth joint, in which the edges of the boards to be jointed" were "planed straight and square to the faces (then probably with an adze, which took the place of a plane in those days, and finished with a grit-stone smoother), after which the edges were glued and rubbed into close contact; to hold the edges together until the glue was hard", clamps of some kind were without used.(1) But the joint more generally used for joining up the material forming the chief beam, the panels and dado, or other work of a like nature, was the rebated glued joint, strengthened with either wooden dowels, or cross-grained tongues inserted into mortises at intervals.
The plain mitre joint was only employed in special cases, such as the extreme angle between the chief beam over the doorway and the vertical framing of the doorway.
Practically all the post and panel sections were held together by means of mortise and tenon joins, - i.e. "Where the end of a wooden member is cut [parallel to the grain] to fit into a rectangular hole in a second member, the joint is called a mortise and tenon joint; the hole being the mortise and the fitted end [parallel to the grain], the tenon." And, it is not without interest to note
TAA i.3.23.11 = page X
how the proportions of the tenons in these shrines conform almost exactly with the modern rules relating to this form of joint - i.e. (i) "the thickness of the tenon should be about one-third of the thickness of the material to be jointed; (ii) the width of the tenon should not exceed five times its thickness."
Pairs of single tenons - i.e. "two tenons in the same plane on the same end of one piece of material" - were almost invariably employed, especially for joining the panel boards to their vertical members.
Stub tenons - i.e. "when a tenon passes only partially through the material" - were used for securing the vertical posts of the doorway to the chief beam and sill.
Cross-grained tongues inserted into corresponding mortises, at intervals, was the method of fixing the crowning members on to the under-structure. These tongues were made of a hard wood, like oak and Christ's thorn, or copper alternate. One of the copper tongues (see fig. ...) was examined by Dr. Prenderleith, who found it to be of "copper containing some tin (1.54 per cent) and a little gold (0.07 per cent.)." He also found "the metal was only superficially oxidised and still bore traces of the resinous material which had been used to hold it in position."
The mouldings were "stuck" or "planted" on. "A stuck moulding is worked directly on the solid framing," and this was the case
TAA i.3.23.12 = page XI
with the 'gorge', or overhanging hollow moulding of the cavetto cornice; "A planted moulding is separately worked and fixed in position with nails ..." The plain roll moulding beneath the cornice and carried down the external angles of the corner posts was in every case 'planted', and in the place of nails, headless wooden pins were employed to fix it in position.
This is an earlier handwritten version of TAA i.3.23.1-12. It has been scanned but not transcribed.
TAA i.3.23.22 recto
Oblong rectangular in shape, this shrine is crowned with a barrel-vault roof abutting upright rectangular end pieces; an overhanging cavetto cornice with, beneath it, a plain roll moulding which is also carried down the external angles of the corners of the under-structure. The under-structure consists of an all round chief beam or frieze; four corner posts; two side and one end panel; a dado; and a sill. The front is mostly occupied by two folding doors, which are hung to the chief beam (or over door frieze), and sill. In place of a skirting, the bottom edges of the whole of the under-structure are bound with copper, (?) painted a dark greenish-blue (see p. ...).
Its external dimensions: - given in 'mean measurements' - are: - at base, 290.5 x 161.5 cents.; extreme edges of the cavetto cornice, 309 x 181 cents.; max. height, 192 cents.; height from ground to the abutment of cornice, 152 cents.; opening of doorway, 131 cents. high, by 121 cents. wide; each door-leaf 130 x 60 cents. The four sides of the shrine show a batter - i.e. a
TAA i.3.23.22 verso
(1) Cf. the vaults over the store chambers of the Ramesseum; the modern native buildings south of Kom Ombo; the earlier wooden coffins; and the Theban vaulted graves of the Ptolemaic Period. (See Carnarvon, Carter, Five Years' Explorations at Thebes, pls. LX, 37, 62, XXXIII-IV).
receding slope from the ground upwards - of approximately 19.7 mills. per one metre vertical.
The shrine is constructed in five separate sections, namely: - one roof section which includes the over hanging cavetto cornice and horizontal roll moulding; two side sections comprising a chief beam or frieze, panel, and dado; one back end section consisting of two corner posts, a chief beam or frieze, panel, and dado; and on front section consisting of two corner posts, a chief beam (or over door frieze), a sill, and two folding doors.
The roof section which includes the cornice and roll moulding was tongued and mortised at intervals to the front sections of the under-structure (see fig. ...). The form of this roof - a low barrel-shaped vault abutting rectangular end pieces - was obviously derived from the ancient system of flying a vault without centering over crude brick buildings.(1) To fly a vaulted roof, i.e. without a temporary wooden framing (centering), whereon the vaulted work is constructed, the end wall of the building is carried up to the height of the apex of the vault. The courses of the flat especially made mud vault bricks are then laid obliquely leaning inwards and against the heightened end wall. This is done to obviate the effect of gravity until the vault is completed and keyed, and to
help the work a tenacious mud mortar is employed. The vault bricks are keyed with small stones or potsherds wedged into the upper gap of the joints, and the vault when completed is closed by a similar wall carried up at the opposite end of the building. This manifestly explains the upright pieces at the ends of the vaulted roof covering this shrine.
The two side sections of the under-structure, which comprise each a top rail forming the chief beam or frieze, a broad panel, and a bottom dado rail, have their vertical ends clamped, and the pairs of single tenons fitted on the ends of the horizontal boards are cut sufficiently long so as to pass through the vertical morticed clamps and protrude for insertion into corresponding mortise holes sunk into the styles of the corner posts of the back and front sections. Their meeting edges are rebated (see Fig. ...).
The back end sections differ slightly in construction from the side sections. Although the chief beam or frieze, the panel, and the dado, are tenoned to the corner posts, their vertical clamps form part of the styles of the corner posts (see Fig. ...).
(Fig. ...) clearly shows the construction of the front sections, and the manner in which the doors are constructed is explained above (p. ... & Fig. ...). Fastened to the centre of the meeting styles of the doors were two silver coated copper staples. These were intended for securing the doors when
TAA i.3.23.25 recto
closed with cord and seal (see second shrine p. ...), but no attempt had been made to seal those doors. For the method they were bolted see above (p. ...).
The various sections were marked with the following joiner's "guide" marks
and cardinal points: -
Roof section - front <> back <>
Front section - frieze - <> <>
right post <>
right door <>
left door <>
right side section - <> <>
left " " - <> <>
Back section - <> <> <>
These marks clearly show the correct orientation of the shrine. It was, however, erected over the sarcophagus in the exact opposite direction, namely, the front at the foot of the sarcophagus facing east, instead of at the head facing west.
The shrine was made slightly too small to enclose the sarcophagus. The mistake being a centimetre or so between the upper interior dimension of the shrine and the overall measurement of the cornice of the sarcophagus, which proved not to be a true rectangle. To overcome this error the workmen, who erected the shrine, left the joints between the
TAA i.3.23.25 verso
(1) See Mr. L. A. Boodle's report p. ...
side and end sections slightly open; they also cut away the inner surface of the chief beam at the ends, and made slight but similar enlargements at the front inner corners. The chips of wood cut from the inner surface of the chief beam were examined by Mr. L. A. Boodle, who found them to be of two kinds which he has identified as being: - (1) Cedar - Cedrus Atlantica, Mannetti, or Cedrus Libani, Barrelier; (2) Christ's thorn - Zizyphus Spina-Christi; Willow.(1) The chips of wood identified as cedar were faced with gesso and gilded, and they evidently came from the inner surface of the chief beam; while the piece identified as Christ's Thorn was not gilded, and was thus evidently a chip from one of the tongues employed for joining up the chief beam to the panel. It therefore may be fairly safely said that the planking of this shrine is of cedar wood (probably Cedrus Libani from the Lebanon or Asia Minor), and that Christ's Thorn wood, owing to its harder and tougher nature, was used for the strengthening dowels and tongues in its joinery.
With the exception of the roof, which is inscribed with formulae in incised relief work, the entire external and internal surfaces of this shrine have been sculptured in low bas-relief with religious representations and texts. These formulae, texts, and representations are all worked upon a gesso coating, which has been overlaid with a thin layer of gold laid on as gold leaf.
[all paragraphs except last scored through]
Pairs of simple tenons - i.e. "two tenons in the same plane on the same end of one piece of material" - were almost invariably employed, especially for joining the panel boards to their vertical members.
Stub tenons - "when a tenon passes only partially through the material" - were used for securing the vertical posts of the doorway to the chief beam (or over door frieze), and the sill.
Cross-grained tongues inserted into corresponding mortises, at intervals, was the method of fixing the crowning members on to the under-structure. The tongues were made of a hard wood, like oak and Christ's thorn wood, or copper, alternate. One of the copper tongues (see fig. ...) was examined by Dr. Plenderleith, who found it to be "of copper containing some tin and a little gold - tin 1.54 per cent., gold 0.07 per cent." He also found "the metal was only superficially oxidised and still bore traces of the resinous material which had been used to lute it in position."
The mouldings are stuck or planted on. "A stuck moulding is worked directly on the solid framing," and this was the case with the "gorge" - or over hanign hollow moulding - of the cavetto cornices. "A planted moulding is separately worked and fixed in position with headless wooden pins." The plain roll moulding beneath the cornice and carried down the external angles of the corner posts was in every case planted.
To enable these large structures to pass into the tomb, they were made up of a number of separate members or sections, which
TAA i.3.23.28 recto
were put together in the Sarcophagus Chamber. The roof sections, with one exception (see first shrine, ...), were tongued to the upper edges of the crowning cornice members. The cornice members, in some instances the cornice and chief beams in one piece, were tongued and mortised to the upper edges of the chief beam or panel of the under-structure; their meeting edges in each case were rebated. The side and end sections of the under-structure comprise either a chief beam, panel and dado in one, or panel and dado, or panel and dado in separate pieces: their horizontal meeting edges being always rebated, tongued and mortiased together; their vertical meeting edges being rebated and tenoned to fit into corresponding mortises in the corner posts. The corner posts of the under-structure were mortised to receive the tenons of the side and end sections, and they also have stub tenons to secure them to the chief beams or over door frieze, and sill. In the case of the smaller shrines of this series, the whole of the back end of the under-structure (i.e. frieze, panel, dado, and two counterposts), and the whole of the front-framework (i.e. the chief beam or over door frieze, the doorposts, sill, and the doors), were made up into complete sections.
The shrines were stood directly upon the rock floor of the chamber, and in place of a "skirting" the bottom edges of the under-structure were bound with copper(?) painted a dark greenish blue. Dr. Alexander Scott examined a piece of this metal binding. His analysis showed the composition of the alloy to be: - copper 97.2%,
TAA i.3.23.28 verso
(1) The Tomb of Tut-ankh-Amen, vol.ii, Appendix iv, pp. 205-6.
TAA i.3.23.29 recto
tin 2.5 %, and silver 0.3 %, with no evidence of the presence of lead. The metal was covered with a dark green coating which suggested that it had been painted (especially in view of a similar broad line of the same colour painted around the base of the stone sarcophagus). From his analysis Dr. Scott also says: "that it is probable that this metallic binding was originally painted, although it can hardly be said that it has been proved."(1)
The reveals of the frameworks of the doorways - i.e. the chief beam or over door frieze, the door posts, and sill - were rebated to receive the folding doors: the inner piece of these rebates was in many instances planted.
The framing of the doors comprises styles and rails: the upright side members are termed the hanging and receting styles; the horizontal ones, which were tenoned to the styles, are termed the top and bottom rails. This framing is of the same thickness as the vertical boards of the doorpanel. The doors were hung by means of a primitive form of pivot hinge, contrived in the following manner: - the projecting ends or horns of the hanging style are rounded off to form a pivot of conic shape, and corresponding sockets to receive the pivots are sunk into the reveals of the chief beam or over door frieze, and sill. In some cases both the pivots and the sockets were encased with copper. The butt edges of the hanging styles were rounded off to enable the doors to swing freely, and the meeting styles rebated to prevent observation through the joint.
TAA i.3.23.29 verso
(1) Dr. Alexander Scott's analysis of this silver coating proved the silver to be of a high degree of purity (see Tomb of Tut.ankh.Amen, Appendix iv, pp.204-5).
The doors were bolted top and bottom with large ebony <> 's'-shaped bolts, which slid into silver coated copper staples.(1) These bolts were fixed, one along the top rail of the right-hand door, the other along the top edge of the engraved dado of the left-hand door. Fixed to the centre of the meeting styles were two staples, also of silver coated copper, for securing the doors when closed with cord and seal. In two cases, actually upon the second and third shrines, the original cords and seals were discovered intact (see pp. ...); proving that the contents within those shrines had never been disturbed since the burial of the King.
As mentioned above, these shrines were constructed of a number of separate numberof separate members and sections which were put together in the Sarcophagus Chamber. To have done this in that very narrow space available between the stone sarcophagus and the walls of the chamber, it must have been necessary for the staff of workmen to have first placed the various sections in correct order round the sarcophagus, leaning them temporarily against the walls of the chamber: the members and sections of the outermost shrine being introduced first, and those of the innermost shrine last. The next logical step in that operation must have been first to erect the innermost shrine and lastly the outermost. And that was apparently what occurred. When dismantling and
extricating those sections we had to employ a similar but reversed method.
Each member or section had been carefully marked with joiner's "guide" marks as well as with the cardinal points. These marks were either scratched or painted in black upon the overlay of gold, to show not only how they fitted together but also their correct orientation. However, the sections were evidently introduced contrary to the instructions marked upon them, and they were erected over the sarcophagus in exact reverse orientation - namely, the shrines facing towards the east instead of west - with the result their west fronts were at the foot of the sarcophagus instead of at the head. Whether this was due to carelessness on the part of the workmen who erected them, or whether it was due to some other specific reason, is difficult to say. But since symbols engraved upon the walls of the shrines, for example the <> 'wd3t'-eyes, were not in correct position, and thus they did not agree in situation with those carved upon the sarcophagus, one suspects that the error lay with the workmen when introducing the sections: an error possibly discovered when it was too late to correct it. There was, however, testimony of direct carelessness: a roof section was put on the wrong way round (see first shrine, p. ...); sections had been banged together regardless of risk of damage to their gilded ornamentation;
deep dents from blows of a heavy implement are visible to the present day on their gilded surfaces, and even parts of the decoration were knocked off; moreover, the workmen's refuse, such as chips of wood, rags, etc., has never been cleared away.
Dismantling those four sepulchral shrines took us close upon three months heavy manual labour. They comprised in all fifty-one sections and members; each had to be dealt with separately, and each section needed temporary treatment to allow of handling with the least risk of damage. It may give some idea of the difficulties of that operation when it is known that the sections, taking the most conservative estimate, weighed from one cwt. to half a ton. Their wood planking although quite sound had shrunk during the period it was in the tomb; this shrinkage had caused the gesso and the gold overlay to buckle and come away from the basic wood; the ornamented surfaces were thus in too delicate a condition to admit of any but the most careful handling for, when touched, they tended to crush and fall away. All such interstices had eventually to be filled in with a high temperature paraffin wax to consolidate them fit for transport. They absorbed over a half a ton of wax, and the task of
TAA i.3.23.33 recto
consolidating them including packing took two long seasons of heavy and irksome work before they could be transported to the Cairo Museum. There they have been re-erected and, I am happy to say, in almost as perfect condition as when they were placed in the tomb.
TAA i.3.23.33 verso
x = plan, and Negs. 638, 640, and photos in Cairo Museum.
The second shrine was fitted over so as to completely enclose the first innermost shrine (No. 239). It is constructed of wood, and its external and internal surfaces are entirely coated with gesso, and overlaid with a thin layer of gold laid on as gold leaf. Structurally it takes the characteristic Egyptian shrine-form, since it has the customary shrine-roof with receding slope towards the back; otherwise its crowning members and under-structure are precisely the same as those of the first innermost shrine. Its workmanship, however, taken as a whole, is the finer of the two, especially in the case of its overall decoration of incised figures and texts.
Like the former shrine it is rectangular oblong in shape. Its slightly elevated roof - having a curved front, a receding slope towards the back, and vertical sides and end - rests upon an overhanging cavetto cornice. Beneath this cornice is a plain roll moulding which is also carried down the external angles of the under-structure. These uppermost members surmount a chief beam or frieze. The under-structure consists of four corner posts, two broad side panels, one end panel, and a dado. The corner posts fulfil a double purpose, for while they form the styles of the side and end panles, they also act as the door posts
of the front. The front of the shrine comprises, beneath the carvetto cornice and roll moulding, a chief beam or over door frieze, two door posts, and a sill; to which are hung its folding doors.
Its external dimensions, given in 'mean measurement' are as follows: -
At base - 335.5 x 207 cents.
At abutment of cornice - 330.5 x 202 cents.
At extreme edges of cornice - 356.5 x 229 cents.
From ground to maximum height of roof - 208 cents.
From ground to top of cornice - 188 cents.
From ground to abutment of cornice - 165 cents.
Opening of doorway - 161.5 cents. wide; and 137.5 cents. high.
Batter - i.e. receding slope from ground upwards - approximately 15 mills. per one metre vertical.
It is constructed of ten separate members and sections: - The roof in two separate sections; the cavetto cornice and roll moulding in from separate members; two side sections, each comprising a chief beam or frieze, panel and dado; one end section, consisting of two corner posts, a chief beam or frieze, panel, and dado; and one front section, which includes the chief beam or over door frieze, two corner posts, a sill, and two folding doors.
The roof sections have their central meeting edges rebated, and for convenience of transport as well as for lowering them on to the cornice members to which they are tongued, they each have four (two on each side) silver coated copper handles of staple form (see fig. ...). Their tongues are made of wood and copper, alternate.
The four members of the crowning cavetto cornice and roll moulding are tongued to the chief beam or frieze of the side, end, and front sections (see fig. ...). Their tongues are made of wood and copper, alternate.
The four sections of the under-structure are made and joined up in similar manner as those of the first innermost shrine (see p. ...).
The various sections and members of this shrine bear the following "guide"
marks and cardinal points: -
Exterior - front cornice L. <> <> R <>
" frieze - <> <>
" left-door - <> right-door - <>
Right-side cornice - <> <> <> <>
" " frieze - <> <> <>
" " styles - <> <> <>
" " panel - <> <> <>
Left side cornice - <> <> <>
" " frieze - <> <>
" " styles - <> <>
" " panel - <> <> Orientation marks scratched upon the gold overlay.
- back end cornice - <>
- " " frieze - <>
scratched upon the gold overlay.
Interior - front of roof - <>
Right-side styles - <> <>
" " panel - <> <>
Left-side styles - <> <>
" " panel - <> <>
'Guide' marks painted in black upon the gold overlay.
The shrine, however, was erected in the exact opposite orientation - namely, the front facing east instead of towards the west. The folding doors of this shrine were bolted in the manner described above (p. ...), but in addition they were secured by a cord bound and tied to the central pair of staples fixed to the meeting styles for that express purpose. Affixed to the cord was a seal. This original seal was discovered intact, proving that the doors had not been opened since they were closed and sealed at the time of the burial of the king.
The seal of clay, or Nile mud, probably made plastic with oil, bears two impressions in relief obtained from separate incised seals: - one showing the prenomen of the King surmounting a recumbent figure of Anubis over nine Asiatic captives; the other, a counter-seal, showing only the recumbent figure of the Anubis animal over nine alien captives. The matrixes were evidently engraved (intaglio) upon some hard material, like stone or metal, and took either the form of signet-rings or ordinary stamp-shaped seals.
The first device is evidently of the house of Tut.ankh.Amen, while the second would seem, with little doubt, to be a departmental seal of the Necropolis administration.
Although these seal impressions may be said to be good imprints, the perfunctory manner in which the ceremony was performed caused much of their details to be wanting. Thus the imprints are not sufficiently perfect to give an absolute rendering of the matrixes. The imprint of the principal seal, however, is sufficiently good to identify the three rows of three captives, beneath the king's cartouche and the Anubis animal, as definitely Asiatic (see fig. ..., cf. also seal impressions e and i, pp. ...). The impression of the counter-seal is, unfortunately, not so good. Here the three rows of three alien captives, beneath the Anubis animals, appear at first sight to be all Africans in contradistinction to the Asiatics on the former seal, but careful examination and comparison with similar seal impressions in this tomb, some possibly from the same matrix, leaves little doubt that they represent both Asiatic and African captives. But, it is not possible to tell with any exactitude their order: probably the first five represent Asiatic captives, and the succeeding four African captives (see fig .; same impressions h, j and l, pp .).
sketch of panelling of dado
of copper tongue
This is an earlier typewritten draft of TAA i.3.23.1-33. It has been scanned but not transcribed.
BUREAU DES CONSERVATEURS.
Actual measurements of the shrine after they were re-erected in the Cairo Museum.
The base measurements of the Tut.ankh.amen shrines are:
N. W. S. E.
1st. 5.02 (16'6") 3.30 (10'10") 5.02 3.30 2nd. 3.81 (12'6") 2.52 (8'1 1/2") 3.80 2.51 3rd. 3.35 (11'0") 2.06 (6'9") 3.35 2.05 4th. 2.90 (9'6 1/4") 1.61 (5'4") 2.91 1.62 [illegible signature]
(March 1, 2009)
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