Restoration of Tutankhamun's funerary mask to start in August

Nevine El-Aref , Tuesday 23 Jun 2015

The funerary mask of the golden king Tutankahmun is to go into intensive care for restoration

the mask of tutankhamun

Beginning in August, visitors of Tutankhamun's galleries at the Egyptian Museum in Tahrir will not be able to admire the king's distinguished gold funerary mask which will leave its original display for intensive restoration to repair the improper restoration carried out recently.

Minister of Antiquities Mamdouh Eldamaty told Ahram Online that Tutankhamun’s gold funerary mask will go for restoration in August after the completion of the scientific studies carried out to discover the material used in its restoration and how to remove them without causing harm.

"A month ago I assigned a scientific committee, led by me, to carry out a comprehensive analytic study on the mask since its discovery in 1922 in Tutankhamun’s tomb, as well as the restoration work carried out on it until now," Eldamaty said.

Eldamaty said that German restorer Christian Eckmann assisted him in such studies because he is an expert in metal restoration.

The committee includes the head of the German Archaeological Institute, Tarek Tawfik, the head of the metal restoration section at the Egyptian Museum in Tahrir Square, and a German CT-scan expert. The ministry has bought new CT scanning equipment to complete the study.

After the completion of the study, Eckmann will travel to Germany with the results, where he will create a gypsum replica of the mask using the proper materials, according to Eldamaty.

In August, he will then return to Cairo where an international conference is to be held to explain to the public and scholars the method selected to restore the beard through state-of-the-art technology. Then, the restoration itself is to start and all the work will be documented.

In January 2015, it was reported that the blue and gold beard of the mask was broken during a cleaning process at the Egyptian Museum and that conservators hurriedly glued the beard back on with epoxy resin, damaging the artefact.

The ministry of antiquities held a press conference where experts asserted that the mask is safe and that the botched restoration carried out in August 2014 is reversible.

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