Floral Collars from Tutankhamun's Embalming Cache

Period: New Kingdom

Dynasty: Dynasty 18

Reign: reign of Tutankhamun

Date: ca. 1336–1327 B.C.

Geography: From Egypt, Upper Egypt, Thebes, Valley of the Kings, Embalming cache of Tutankhamun (KV 54), Davis/Ayrton excavations, 1907

Medium: 09.184.214: Papyrus, olive leaves, persea leaves, cornflowers, blue lotus petals, Picris flowers, nightshade berries, faience, linen
09.184.215: Papyrus, olive leaves, cornflowers, linen
09.184.216: Papyrus, olive leaves, persea leaves, nightshade berries, celery (?), faience, linen dyed red

Dimensions: 09.184.214: diam. 40 (15 3/4 in); d. 17 cm ( 6 11/16); diam. of faience disk beads 0.5 cm (3/16 in)
09.184.215: diam. 44 cm (17 5/16 in); d. 15.5 cm (6 1/8 in)
09.184.216: diam. 47 cm (18 1/2 in); d. 17 cm (6 11/16 in); diam. disk beads 0.5 cm (3/16 in)

Credit Line: Gift of Theodore M. Davis, 1909

Accession Number: 09.184.214–.216-related


These remarkably well preserved floral collars, from the embalming cache of Tutankhamun, illustrates how the broad collars so frequently depicted in Egyptian tomb paintings were made. Alternating rows of flower petals and blossoms, leaves, berries, and blue faience beads were sewn to a papyrus backing, and linen ties secured the collar around the wearer's neck. Some of the flora used in the Tutankhamun collars have been identified as olive leaves, cornflowers, and poppies. Several collars in the cache were bound around the edge with red cloth, and the resulting combination of red, blue, black, and green must have been very colorful and similar to the polychrome decoration on some of the terracotta vessels in the same deposit (09.184.83).