This fan was found in the tomb of King Tutankhamun and originally had brown and white ostrich feathers attached to the half-circular form. An inscription on the fan’s long shaft records a desert hunt during which the king killed two ostriches. The action scene on the half circle shows the king engaged in an ostrich hunt. He stands ready in his chariot with bow and arrow, as his horses pull the chariot forward and a hunting dog runs toward the birds. Following closely behind the king is a personified ankh symbol carrying a long fan. Ankhs were often shown in this way, fanning important people, symbolically providing them with the breath of life. The reverse side of the half circle shows a less active post-hunt scene, with the chariot stopped and two attendants each carrying a dead ostrich.
Although scholars are uncertain of King Tutankhamun’s accomplishments as a hunter and warrior, the numerous items found in his tomb suggest his participation in these roles and his power as king. Six chariots, almost fifty bows of various types, arrows of all sorts, and additional weapons were found.
Fan Depicting an Ostrich Hunt Gilded wood Dynasty 18, reign of Tutankhamun (1332–1323 B.C.) Thebes, Valley of the Kings, tomb of Tutankhamun