Question 2: Bald pate or bowl-like form?
Did the Ancient Egyptians shave their heads and place their crown atop it – no form required? Or did the nemes crown sit over a stiff papyrus form giving it its distinctive shape?
Because I was not going to use a golden tiara to anchor the crown on my child’s head, it suited me to conclude it had a definite form, like a modern-day milliner would use and that it was dressed in fabric. A three-quarter view of the crown, like the one above, seemed to confirm this. Assuming a golden tiara fit around his forehead, metal or papyrus supports holding the fabric up and stretching it around the back of his ears may have been soldered or riveted in place. The fabric would form around his bald pate then fall behind his head.
Problem 1 – The snake and vulture protrude out from above the tiara, where the cloth is supposed to drape over the head. Fabric alone would not support the weight of these jewelled creatures. Something hard and durable had to support them – like gold.
Problem 2 – The tiara doesn’t seem to disappear behind the ears but seems to form the side burns, cupping the head. As a consequence the tiara doesn’t appear to be holding the crown in place. The crown appears to be cupping the head, like a helmet.
Is this visible across other representations of the crown?
Death mask – https://www.flickr.com/photos/fischerfotos/23785641449/ Mark Fischer http://creativecommons.org/licenses/by-sa/2.0/ CC BY-SA
It seems so.
What would the Ancient Egyptians have used to make the royal helmet? Annealed gold? Papyrus reeds? Papyrus reeds could help create the stripes as a form of texture but they don’t go far in explaining away what colour the gold lines of the death mask are meant to represent and could have posed a problem in lining up with the dyed blue stripes of the cloth. However heartily they were manipulated, it’s questionable whether papyrus reeds could hold the weight of the uraeus and vulture. But gold as an alternative couldn’t have been comfortable or practicable for everyday wear.
Regardless, gold or papyrus, neither was an option for me. Nonetheless, I knew exactly what I was going to use.
A perforated plastic colander previously purposed for producing ricotta cheese!
I was able to sew the fabric on, attach the uraeus and vulture – mine are plastic and rubber – and then solve a problem of gravity and balance by attaching the beard to it.
Answer: Bald pate or milliner’s form? Definitely a form – in my mind anyway.
Next: A question of gravity, currency and gay flappers or majestic lappets?