The mummified erect penis and other burial anomalies were not accidents during embalming, Ikram suggests, but rather deliberate attempts to make the king appear as Osiris, the god of the underworld, in as literal a way as possible. The erect penis evokes Osiris’ regenerative powers; the black liquid made Tutankhamun’s skin color resemble that of Osiris; and the lost heart recalled the story of the god being cut to pieces by his brother Seth and his heart buried.
SCIENTISTS AND SPECIAL-EFFECTS artists in Britain and New Zealand used digital techniques applied in crime investigations to fashion a fiberglass model they say provides the closest possible likeness of the pharaoh’s looks.
The cast of Tutankhamen’s head, which went on display for four weeks at London’s Science Museum on Monday, bears little resemblance to his golden death mask.
Unlike the famous face of the slight, heavy-lipped youth framed in a pharaoh’s headdress, the model shows a wide-faced young man with high cheekbones, smaller eyes and a heavy brow.
“I think people will be surprised it’s quite a different looking face. But it’s quite realistic given the technology used,” said a Science Museum spokeswoman.
X-RAY IMAGES USED
The reconstruction team was forced to use X-rays taken in 1968 for its impression of the 18-year-old’s looks because the mummified head of Tutankhamen was too dried and sunken to give lifelike dimensions, she said.
Robin Richards, a facial rebuilding expert from University College London, scanned the features of people of the same age, sex, build and ethnic group as Tutankhamen to create an approximation of skin type, which was wrapped onto the 3-D digital skull.
New Zealand special effects artists fleshed out the skull with eye color and skin pigment, and sculptors then created the finished product out of clay, casting it finally in fiberglass.
The tomb of King Tutankhamen, a boy king who ruled Egypt in the 14th century B.C. and died mysteriously at a young age, was discovered by British archaeologist Howard Carter in 1922.