Year 2 Visual Arts

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People Have Been Making Art for a Very Long Time

king tut

If you have already read the Fantastic Pharaohs and Marvellous Monuments activity, then you will already know some of the wonderful creations of the ancient Egyptians like the pyramids and the Great Sphinx. Many pharaohs were buried in the pyramids. They were buried with lovely jewelry, many riches and all of the items that they could possibly need in the afterlife.

The pharaohs believed that, after they died, their spirits kept on living in the afterlife if they made the necessary preparations. First, the body of the pharaoh was well preserved, because the body provided a home for the spirit after death. The ancient Egyptian priests prepared the bodies of dead pharaohs in a special way by washing and cleaning the body with fragrant spices, and rubbing it with special oils. One of the last things the priests did was wrap the body in rolls of white cloth to make a mummy. The mummy was very important because it was a home for the pharaoh's ever-living spirit. If the mummy was damaged, though, the spirit could not live on into the afterlife. For that reason, the ancient Egyptian pharaohs built the pyramids as safe places to protect their mummies. That is, they were safe until robbers started breaking into the pyramids and stole many of the riches!

The mummy was kept in a 'mummy case' inside the pharaoh's pyramid to protect it in the afterlife. The most famous mummy case, or sarcophagus as it is properly known, was made for a young Egyptian pharaoh named Tutankhamun, or 'King Tut', who died aged 19 in 1325 B.C. Since King Tut knew that robbers had broken into many of the pyramids of his ancestors, he decided to build a secret tomb instead that would hide his mummy and his riches that he needed for the afterlife. This was a clever idea because it was not until 1922 (after over 3,000 years!) that archaeologists found King Tut's tomb.

King Tut's sarcophagus is almost 2 3/4 metres long, 1 1/2 metres wide, and 1 1/2 metres high (click to learn more about measurements). No expense was spared in the making of King Tut's sarcophagus. It is beautifully decorated to show the likeness of King Tut himself, and there are smaller decorations that include the figures of goddesses who would protect King Tut's mummy. Also, instead of being made of wood and painted, it was made from solid gold. Imagine how heavy it must be!

This activity is adapted from pages 132 and 181 of What Your Year 2 Child Needs to Know, which can be purchased here.

This activity has cross-curricular connections: click below to see related activities.

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