Sunday, October 10, 2010

King Tut’s shoes tell a personal story

Toledo Blade (Tahree Lane)

With Photo

King Tut’s treasure-packed tomb included 81 pairs of shoes in varying stages of decay. With their heat and humidity, Egyptian tombs aren’t the ideal places to store one’s footwear for the afterlife.

A few were crafted with gold and jewels, some with colored beads; many were made from grass and leaves; the most decayed were made of leather. Three unusual pairs may have been created to accommodate the boy king’s club foot, which may have left him hobbling. They have horizontal straps just below the toes, and one pair has supportive panels around the sides of the shoes, says Andre Veldmeijer, author of the new, 310-page Tutankhamun’s Footwear: Studies of Ancient Egyptian Footwear.

He will speak and show pictures of the sandals at a free 7:30 p.m. talk Friday in the Little Theater of the Toledo Museum of Art.

Some of the shoes probably would have fit Tutankhamun when he became king 3,300 years ago at the age of about 10. He continued as ruler, though not a significant one, until his death at 19. His grave, discovered in 1922 by Howard Carter, is the only royal tomb to be found almost intact, and there’s nothing else to compare the shoes with.

Veldmeijer is a Dutch archaeologist who also studies ancient scraps of leather, roping, and cords. He spoke with The Blade from his home in Holland.

“I was working with everything made of cordage, such as fishing nets, and I found sandals made of string,” he said.


Sugar and Snark said...

Very Interesting!

Stephanie said...

Is it possible to give the ISBN-number of this book?
I have not been able to find it in the leading UK book stores or on Amazon.

Andie said...

Hi Stephanie
I couldn't find an ISBN but the book can apparently be ordered from the publisher

There's also a free PDF by Andre on the British Museum website on the same subject:

Stephanie said...

Thank you very much,Andie!

Anonymous said...

HI all,

The ISBN of Tutankhamun's Footwear is 978-90-78707-10-3. That of my new book on Amarna's leatherwork is 978-90-78707-12-7. Both available through or through Oxbow Books