The Gold Foil Sheets

Two of the KV 55 gold foil sheets now in the Metropolitan Museum. (Photo by 
Lanny Bell, from Martha Bell, JARCE 27 [1990], fig. 1.)

    The mummy was covered to a certain extent with gold material described variously as "sheets" (Davis, ToQT, 2; Maspero, ToQT, XIII, and NL, 294; Weigall, GP, 137), or "plates" (Ayrton, ToQT, 9).  Davis states that these objects covered the mummy from the hands downward to the feet (ToQT, 2), but since his account of the position of the mummy's hands differs from all the other accounts, his description of the placement of the gold sheets is probably unreliable. Weigall claimed that the whole body was wrapped in them (GP, 137.) J. L. Smith reported that there were a dozen of these "gold sheets about the size of sheets of foolscap, placed symmetrically from side to side [over the mummy]" (TTAA, 63.) Dr. Bob Brier theorizes that these gold sheets may have been placed over the mummy as a kind of magical preservative (BB, 122.) Daressy (BIFAO 12 [1916], 149 and n. 1), J. L. Smith (TTAA, 63) and Reeves (DRN, 46, n. 20) contend that the sheets were originally part of the gold lining of the coffin. Smith stated that a cartouche had been removed from one of the gold sheets found beneath the mummy, and Maspero, after examining this, claimed that he could detect traces of the name of Akhenaten. (TTAA, 65.) Another sheet bore the inscription, "Beloved of Waenre," and has been used to associate the coffin and mummy with Smenkhkare (Bell, JARCE 27 [1990], 99.) See also Aldred (AKoE, 217-218) John Allen (JARCE 25 [1988], 123, 125); Daressy (BIFAO 12 [1916], 150); Engelbach (ASAE 31 [1931], 103); Gardiner (JEA 43 [1957], 11, 21-22) Fairman (JEA 47 [1961], 38); E. Thomas (RNT, 146); and R. Krauss (MDAIK 42 [1986], 76-77). (For more on these "gold sheets" see our "Special Exhibit," KV 55's Lost Objects: Where Are They Today? on the menu bar at the left on the main page.)

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