Golden Throne of Tutankhamun

Kane Khanh | Archeaology
September 25, 2023

The golden throne of Tutankhamun is a unique work of art. The luxurious armchair is distinguished by the complexity of its technique and an abundance of details.

Its colors have not faded over three thousand years, which serves as a testament to the high skill of the ancient Egyptian craftsmen.

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

The royal throne is made of wood, covered with gold and silver. It is ornamented with semi-precious stones and colored glass.

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 crown of Egypt and guarding the cartouche names of the king.

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.

Lion head, detail from the decoration on the throne of Tutankhamun
Lion head, detail from the decoration on the throne of Tutankhamun. This side shows the cartouche bearing Tutankhamun’s throne name “Neb-Kheperu-Re”.
Photo: Amir Makar

The golden throne 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.

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
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.

Related: Child’s Chair of Tutankhamun

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
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