King Tut’s Pomegranate

Egyptian wall art, outside the Tutankhamun exhibit at San Francisco’s de Young Museum

Actually, it was Amenhotep II‘s pomegranate. But it was the de Young Museum’s Tutankhamun exhibit at which I learned of the ancient Egyptian practice of burying the elite with model fruits. (We had a quick few hours to take in a San Francisco museum before departing for Asia.) The artifact displayed was a little round faience pomegranate. (Many of the pieces were made of faience in the most fetching turquoise, the sort of blue that stops the feet and turns the head.)

“Egyptians often included miniature foodstuffs in their tombs in the belief that they could become real if required.” I never knew that—how fascinating. Amenhotep II’s tomb contained more than 50 such items. “These model fruits could magically provide refreshment, medicine, and aphrodisiacs in the Afterlife.”

If only we humans could turn ceramics into sustenance.

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