The magical picture of Tutankhaten-amun
The following message is contained within the magical picture;  

tutankhaten papyrus

Magical pictures

The Ancient Egyptians belived in the properties of magical pictures, they belived if you wanted to guarantee a successful afterlife then it was important to have pictures of what one, would want to do in the afterlife. This picture which is carved and decorated on the back of the golden throne of Tutankhamun, in the Cairo Museum, is one of the desires and wishes of the late king’s aspirations in the afterlife.

Tutankhamun ruled Egypt from 1334 B.C. – 1325 B.C. for a period of 9 years. Earlier estimates of the king’s reign suggest that he came to the throne at the age of 9 or 10, but recent re-examination of his mummified body suggests that he was approximately 22 years of age, when he died.

The king was born during Egypt’s difficult religious changes. His birth name is Tutankhaten meaning ‘the living image of the sun god Aten’, but because of the changing religious alliances taking place, he changed his name to Tutankhamun, meaning the ‘living image of the god Amun’.

By the time Tutankhamun became the king of Egypt, Egypt’s civilisation of kings had a history of 1,766 years, the pyramids of Giza had been built and standing for 1,232 years. Because of this history, kings of Egypt represented Egypt; they were Egypt, especially in iconography.

This magical picture contains king Tutankhamun with his wife queen Ankhesenpa-aten (later Ankhesen-amun, who is, adjusting the king’s broad magical collar. Some scholars have interpreted this scene as the queen applying oils to the king’s body from a dish that she is holding in her left hand.

Recommended Reading
Clayton, P.A. (2001) Chronicles of the Pharaohs, Thames & Hudson.
Gahlin, L. (2002) Egypt, Gods, Myths & Religion, Anness Publishing Ltd.
Reeves, N. (1990) The Complete Tutankhamun, Thames & Hudson




This decoration represents the king’s palace wall, the decoration around the king’s palace in Egypt.


The collars on the stand represent the wings of the ancient goddess Nekhbet, the vulture sky goddess of Hieraconpolis in Upper Egypt. Her role is to fly over the king and warn him of his enemies.


This collar again is the symbol of Nekhbet and contains a ‘lotus flower’ of Upper Egypt.


These are the magical words spoken by the queen Ankhesen-amun, anointing the kings spirit and describing him as the lord of two lands (Upper & Lower Egypt).


Queen Ankhesen-amun, chief wife of the king.


The queen wears a collar of the goddess Nekhbet, who is also protecting the queen.


The queen is in her role as the goddess Isis, she wears the crown of Isis, the cow horns represents Isis as the goddess Hathor, the solar disk in the middle, means Isis has the secrets of magic and the twin feathers or ostrich feathers, represents royalty.


The Sun god Ra in his form as the Aten (the mid day sun) reaching out its rays, on to the king and queen.


King wearing the ‘Mandulis’ crown, which is a combination of Egyptian gods and goddesses, empowering the king with their powers, in the afterlife.


The kings fourth name (throne name) ‘Neb-kheperu-ra’ meaning ‘Lord of manifestations is Ra’, with additional titles ‘He of the sedge and the bee’, meaning ‘Lord of Upper & Lower Egypt’.


Fifth name (birth name) of the king ‘Tutankhamun’ meaning {the} ‘Living image of Amun’, with additional titles ‘Sa-Ra’ meaning ‘Son of the sun god Ra’.


The collar of Nekhbet, protecting the king against his enemies.


The kings shendyt kilt, made from fine linen with a royal belt of protection.


The lotus flower of Upper Egypt, and the papyrus reed of Lower Egypt, representing the 2 lands of Egypt.


Lion’s feet represent the king as a mighty lion, fearless before his enemies.


The foot stall which can be seen in the Cairo Museum at the base of the throne.