This isn’t the first time Tutankhamun’s beard has been glued on.
When the king’s golden mask was first revealed in 1925 the beard was still in place, proclaiming Tutankhamun’s divinity and connection with Osiris, lord of the Underworld.
It was held in place with a pin that fitted a hole under the mask’s chin. The beard is heavy, more than two kilograms, and it broke off when the mask was first removed from Tutankhamun’s head.
Tutankhamun's mask was first displayed in the Egyptian Museum it was without the beard attached.
In 1944 it was decided to reattach the beard – with glue. It is that 1940s glue that has been holding the beard in place ever since.
This was until late last year when the mask almost fell when the display case bumped it as it was being lifted off.
The curator grabbed the mask to break the fall and the beard separated.
Once again they reached for the glue. Unfortunately this time it was a rushed job and the glue was applied messily.
Thankfully we are reassured by Christian Eckmann, a German restoration expert called in by the Egyptian Museum, that the incredibly strong epoxy glue can be reversed, and the proper conservation measures taken.
Here is a clear photo of the newly glued-on beard, taken last Saturday, 24th January, by Hassan Ammar.