Large Storage Jar from Tutankhamun's Embalming Cache
reign of Tutankhamun
ca. 1336–1327 B.C.
From Egypt, Upper Egypt, Thebes, Valley of the Kings, Embalming Cache of Tutankhamun (KV 54), Davis/Ayrton excavations, 1907–08
H. 71 cm (28 in); Diam. 48 cm (18 7/8 in); Diam. of mouth 35 cm (13 3/4 in)
Gift of Theodore M. Davis, 1909
On view at The Met Fifth Avenue in Gallery 122
In December 1907 Theodore M. Davis, a wealthy American funding excavations in the Valley of the Kings, discovered a small pit near the tomb of Seti I that contained approximately a dozen large sealed whitewashed storage jars, including this one. The jars' contents, carefully packed in chaff, included an assortment of objects: broken pottery; linen bags of natron (the salt used in mummification); animal bones; floral collars; linen kerchiefs; pieces of linen with hieratic dockets dated to Years 6 and 8 of the as yet little-known king named Tutankhamun; and mud sealings stamped with the seal of the royal necropolis and cartouches of the same king.
Careful study of the materials found in the jars suggests that the natron and linen were embalming refuse from the mummification of Tutankhamun. The broken pottery, animal bones, and floral collars may have been used in the offering and purification ceremonies performed at the king's funeral.
Excavated by Theodore M. Davis in the Valley of the Kings (KV 54), 1907. Received by Davis in the division of finds. Given by Davis to the Metropolitan Museum of Art, 1909.
Winlock, Herbert E. 2010. "Materials Used at the Embalming of King Tutankhamun." In Tutankhamun's Funeral, edited by Herbert E. Winlock and Dorothea Arnold. New York: Metropolitan Museum of Art, pp. 26–27, fig. 17 (right).