and semiprecious stone. The mask comes from the innermost mummy case in the pharaoh’s
tomb, and stands 54 cm (21 in) high. The emblems on the forehead (vulture and cobra) and
on the shoulders (falcon heads) were symbols of the Two Lands of Upper and Lower Egypt
and of divine authority. The vulture Nekhbet and the cobra Wadjet protected the pharaoh.
Tutankhamun's mummified body was found within three coffins or sarcophagi, each one
within the next. The largest is still in the original tomb in the Valley of the Kings along with
his mummy, but the other two are here. This is the middle coffin, made of wood covered
with gold, semiprecious stones, glass and obsidian.
The inner coffin is made of solid gold and weighs 110 kilograms (which at 2004 prices
makes the gold by itself worth over one and a half million US dollars).
The Egyptian Vulture
The Egyptian vulture is a tool-using bird. Egyptian vultures are specialists in egg-eating.
They are among the only known birds in the world to use stones as tools. They will
repeatedly strike at an abandoned ostrich egg with stones, then use their beak to enlarge
the hole and penetrate membrane. Then it feasts on the oozing interior of the egg. In ancient
Egypt the vulture is considered to be nearer to God who is believed to reside above the sky.
The Egyptian Cobra
The ancient Egyptians worshipped the cobra and used it as a symbol on the crown of the
pharaohs. It is used as a protective symbol, the Egyptians believed that the cobra would spit
fire at any approaching enemies. It is also called asp.
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