One of the defining features of Tutankhamun (or more precisely, his burial mask) is obviously the tapering, slender beard that ostentatiously flaunts its blue and gold vibe. But in spite of this opulence, vanity it seems was never to be. Back in October of 2014, the braided extension of the famed mask was reportedly broken during a cleaning/dusting accident at Cairo’s renowned Egyptian Museum. And now to exacerbate things further, the beard has been fixed in an inappropriate manner due to the use of heavy duty epoxy glue.
According to Arabic news site Al Araby Al Jadeed, there is a clear presence of a foreign substance between the chin and the beard (as shown in this image). Unfortunately, the museum employees decided to use a ‘DIY’ method of poking a spatula to remove this translucent residue – which further damaged the beard-part with some scratches. Oddly enough, this decision was taken without any consultation with Ministry of Antiquities and their restoration lab experts.
And quite ironically, it is the strong adhesive value of epoxy that has led to this unintentional vandalism of the 3,300-year old artifact. As for now, the museum officials have thought of a ‘makeshift’ solution that entails dimming the light of the room in which the burial mask is exhibited. The lighting focus is specially tepid around King Tut’s chin region, thus shading the damaged part from the visual perception of naked eyes. However, according to Egyptologist William H. Peck –
It’s fixable, but it will take a very careful and very meticulous team of craftsmen to fix it. Certainly not overnight.