Masks were a very important aspect of Ancient Egyptian burials.
In common with the anthropoid coffin they provided the dead with
a face in the afterlife. In addition they also enabled the spirit
to recognise the body.
As well as the famous golden mask of Tutankhamun
and the less well known solid gold mask of Psusennes
there are several other masks on display in collections throughout
the world. Such is the power of these beautiful objects that
photographs can never fully do them justice.
The tomb of Tjuyu and Yuya was, until the discovery of Tutankhamun's, one of the most spectacular
ever found in the Valley of the Kings.
Although the burial was robbed in antiquity, a great deal
of objects not considered valuable by the robbers remained. Both
the mummies were largely intact and were in an amazing state
It is thought that Yuya, above, and the Lady Tjuyu, whose mask
is shown on the right were the parents of Amenhotep
III's principal wife Queen Tiye and were thus allowed the
privilege of a burial in the royal valley.
This fine 18th Dynasty Mummy mask is from the collection of the
British Museum. It is made from painted wood, but the name of
it's original owner is unknown. It is unfortunate that many masks
were damaged during unwrapping of mummies, but thankfully modern
X-Ray techniques has rendered this highly destructive method
of investigation obsolete.