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Sunday, 26 May 2019

Tutankhamun's gold mask restored after botched repair

AFP , Wednesday 16 Dec 2015
Tutankhamun
The golden funerary mask of legendary Egyptian boy king Tutankhamun is presented to the public at the Egyptian Museum in Cairo after its restoration, on December 16, 2015. (AFP)
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Egypt put the restored gold mask of Tutankhamun back on display Wednesday after German experts removed glue applied in a botched repair when the priceless artifact'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' 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.

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-kilo (24.2-pound) solid gold funerary mask is encrusted with lapis lazuli and semi-precious stones.

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