Banqueting with Tutankhamun: A Case Study in Determining the Function and Meaning of an Unprovenanced Artifact
Author(s): Michael Tritsch
A striking example of the sophistication of the vitreous materials industry at the time it was produced, a faience bead depicting Tutankhamun drinking from a white lotus chalice possesses tremendous symbolic meaning that reflects the mores of the ancient Egyptian culture of the time. Although a published piece from the Eton College Collection, this is the first time extensive research has been performed on this unprovenanced artifact bought on the antiquities market in the late 1800s. Production of the bead occurred at the end of the Amarna Period during the reign of Tutankhamun and the return to orthodoxy of Egyptian culture. A comprehensive physical analysis of the bead confirmed its material composition as faience and indicated the process utilized in its production. Through the in-depth analysis of the components of the image, the iconography established it as a potent fertility symbol representative of royal regeneration. Then, based on the findings, the original appearance of the bead and its associated collar has been reconstructed, followed by a suggestion of its function in Egyptian society. The method of analyzing this complex artifact undertaken herein allows for the interpretation of an unprovenanced find in determining its meaning, use, and cultural significance.
Cite this Record
Banqueting with Tutankhamun: A Case Study in Determining the Function and Meaning of an Unprovenanced Artifact. Michael Tritsch. Presented at The 82nd Annual Meeting of the Society for American Archaeology, Washington, DC. 2018 ( tDAR id: 442549)
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min long: 24.961; min lat: 22.065 ; max long: 35.332; max lat: 31.616 ;
Abstract Id(s): 21454