Golden mask of King Tutankhamun – New Kingdom, 18th Dynasty – From Western Thebes, Valley of the Kings, Tomb 62 – (Carter 256a), Cairo, Egyptian Museum – This spectacular mask represents an idealized portrait of the King. Its beauty is due to the precious materials and masterful workmanship that went into its creation. It was an essential item of the royal burial equipment serving as an image that the soul could enter and occupy during the Afterlife if something happened to the body. Eyes and eyebrows were inlaid with lapis lazuli. The vulture and cobra adorning the King’s brow (images of the protective goddesses of Upper and Lower Egypt) were made of solid gold inlays of lapis lazuli, carnelian, faience and glass. The long curled beard, emblematic of divinity, is made of blue glass laid into a golden framework. This is a work of genius reflecting the brilliance and skill of ancient Egyptian artists and craftsmen and is probably the most famous antiquity in the world.