London, Nov 5 (UNI) It took 85 years to finally unveil the actual mummy of the young pharaoh Tutankhamun, even as the golden death mask covering his face has remained a familiar image all these years.
British treasure-seeker Howard Carter had located the 2000-year-old tomb in 1922.
The true face of the 19-year-old monarch was put on view in his underground tomb at Luxor yesterday, when the linen-wrapped mummy was removed from its stone sarcophagus for display in a climate-controlled glass box.
The display comes at the end of a two-year restoration of the mummy itself, which was badly damaged by Mr Carter and his team when they removed the death mask and other jewels decorating the body.
It was cut into 18 separate pieces in the process. The restoration, was intended to protect the mummy for the future as there were fears that its condition was deteriorating with large number of tourists visiting the tomb.
''The humidity and heat caused by people entering the tomb and their breathing will change the mummy to a powder,'' The Independent quoted Egypt's head of antiquities Zahi Hawass as saying.
The face, put to display, is a lot less idealised than the lustrous and splendid golden mask. It is shrivelled and leather-like from the embalming process.
However, it is a lot more human and exhibits one very human characteristic in particular. The mummifies face displays that young King had buck teeth and the ''overbite'' which was characteristic of the Thurmosid royal line to which Tutankhamun belonged.
There have been lingering questions about the death of young pharaoh and his royal lineage. Several books and documentaries have been written about the 12th ruler of ancient Egypt's 18th dynasty.
John Taylor, an assistant keeper at the British Museum's department of ancient Egypt and Sudan, said tourists would not be the only ones to benefit from putting the mummy on display in a climate-controlled case. ''In some ways, it could be advantageous to monitor the condition to see if the mummy is stable,'' he said.