King Tutankhamun and Queen Ankhesenamen, detail from the back of the throne of Tutankhamun

March 14, 2024

The golden throne of Tutankhamun is a unique work of art. It is considered to be one of the most significant and well-preserved pieces of furniture from ancient Egypt. Its colors have not faded over three thousand years, which serves as a testament to the high skill of the ancient Egyptian craftsmen.

The luxurious armchair is distinguished by the complexity of its technique and an abundance of details. Two projecting lions’ heads protect the seat of the throne while the arms take the form of winged uraei or rearing cobras wearing the double Pschent crown of Egypt and guarding the cartouche names of the king.

Detail of the Golden Throne of TutankhamunDetail of the Golden Throne of Tutankhamun

The golden throne of Tutankhamun was discovered in 1922 by the British archeologist Howard Carter. It was found beneath a hippopotamus funerary bed in the antechamber of the Tomb of Tutankhamun.

Related: Child’s Chair of Tutankhamun

The throne is called (Ist) in Egyptian hieroglyphs after the name of the mother goddess Isis, who was usually depicted bearing a throne on her head as her characteristic emblem. It is made of wood and covered with gold and silver. It is ornamented with semi-precious stones and colored glass.

The throne meant, not only the link between the worlds of Gods and the people, but also majesty, stability, safety and balance. Since kings were considered Gods on earth, it may not be difficult to imagine Tutankhamun imposing his divine will over the rest of mortals while sitting on this golden throne.

Queen Ankhesenamun and Tutankhamun, detail of the Golden Throne of Tutankhamun.Queen Ankhesenamun and Tutankhamun

Back of the throne of Tutankhamun

Queen Ankhesenamun holds a salve-cup and spreads perfumed oil on her husband’s collar in a typical Amarna style scene, the sun disc Aten shines above the royal couple. At the time it was made, their names were Tutankhaten and Ankhespaaten.

The scene shows one of the most famous and intimate scenes in art history: the young king appears sitting and being regaled with an ointment by his wife Ankhesenamun.

The king wears a composite crown and a broad collar and the queen wears a diadem. The bodies and wigs of both of them are inlaid with exquisite colored glass and their linen robes are silver.

Golden Throne of Tutankhamun displayed in the Egyptian Museum, Cairo.Golden Throne of Tutankhamun

New Kingdom, late 18th Dynasty, reign of Tutankhamun, ca. 1332-1323 BC. From the Tomb of Tutankhamun (KV62), Valley of the Kings, West Thebes. Now in the Egyptian Museum, Cairo. JE 62028