Tutankhamun's gold mask back on display after repair

Tutankhamun's gold mask back on display after repair
2 min read
18 December, 2015
Egypt has returned the burial mask of Tutankhamun on display after repairing a botched attempt to reattach its beard, which was knocked off and hastily glued back a year ago.
The beard fell off the boy pharaoh's funerary mask in August 2014 [Getty]
Egypt put the restored gold mask of Tutankhamun back on display on Wednesday after German experts removed glue applied in a botched repair when the priceless artefact's beard fell off.

The restored mask - now back in its display case at the museum - was shown to journalists after more than two months of work by a team of German experts.

"It is done," Christian Eckmann, a German specialist in restoration work on antiquities in glass and metal, told reporters at a press conference.

The beard fell off the boy pharaoh's funerary mask in August 2014 at the Egyptian Museum in Cairo, and employees tried to reattach it with glue.

[Click to enlarge]

The accident happened when the mask was removed from its display case to repair the lighting.

In a hurried attempt to fix it, museum workers applied too much epoxy glue, leaving a visible crust.

The restoration included a 3D scan of the mask and removing the beard once more.

"The most challenging process was to remove the beard. We did it by mechanical means, using wooden tools," Eckmann said.

The process included warming the mask to enable the adhesive to be removed.

The boy king's death mask is a top attraction at the museum, which has hundreds of items from the tomb found in 1922 by British archaeologist Howard Carter along with the pharaoh's mummy in Luxor's Valley of the Kings.

When Carter discovered the treasure, the ceremonial beard was already loose and he himself removed it for the first time, Eckmann said.

"Ninety years after Carter accomplished the first restoration of the mask in December 1925, we have the pleasure to present the mask in its original" form, he said.

Tutankhamun died aged 19 in 1324 BC after reigning for nine years. His 11 kilogramme solid gold funerary mask is encrusted with lapis lazuli and semi-precious stones.