Ancient Egypt 
|If there is one thing we all know about the Tomb it is the curse
In Nov 1922 a tomb was discovered, the importance of which cannot be overestimated. It always promised to be something special, but it was not known how special until Feb 1923. Howard Carter and his team were going to open a tomb which had lain undisturbed for over 30 centuries.
King Tutankhamen had waited in the stillness of that tomb for 3000 years and his return from the dead was into a world the ancient Egyptians could not have imagined in their wildest dreams.
It has been hailed as the greatest archeological discovery of the 20th century. Certainly from a populist point of view this must be correct. Tut mania swept the world and made lots of people lots of money. It turned into something of a traveling circus though and any serious modern archeologist must nearly burst into tears when they think of the basic desecration that went on in that site over 70 years ago.
Victorian England always had an unhealthy obsession with things Egypt, it fitted right on with the experimentation in the occult which was going on; Seance on Saturday, Church on Sunday, that sort of thing. Matters really got out of hand with Howard Carter opening that Tomb in the Valley of the Kings however.
But what rare joy King Tut slumbers beneath the sands of the desert for 30 centuries only to be yanked from his resting place in time for the cigarette card boom. It was also rather useful for the Art Deco movement which relied greatly on Egyptian Art and form and nobody would have understood what Wilf, Keeple and Betty were doing shuffling about in a box of sand had it not been for Tut.
Churchmans, Treasure Trove  50 in series has a number of cards dedicated to the discovery.
|BACKGROUND INFO ON MUMMIES:
Ground up Mummies were used as pigments for artists. It gets worse.
The bandages were also used to wrap meat up in America (until an outbreak of Cholera stopped that) and perhaps worse of all whole mummies were used as a fuel to make steam for railway engines.
Somewhat disappointingly the sands of the desert was a better preservative than the mummification method in most cases. Death is like that sometimes.
If there is one thing we all know about the Tomb it is the curse. Dogs howling, canaries dying, lights going out, insect bites, suicides. Even the fact that a small boy got killed by a hearse which was carrying the body of the father of the man that was Secretary to the Expedition (son died, father commits suicide) gets hauled into the curse theory.
It is all a pile of nonsense which does not bear up to any sort of examination of the facts.
The canary was given away and didn't die. The lights still go out in Cairo with monotonous regularity and most of the people involved in the dig lived to a ripe old age before dying.
So if you think the curse is all sounding like a rather weak plot line from a second rate soap it could well be, 'Keep watching the tele' All you curse theorists might like to know that whilst constructing this article there was some sort of problem with my E: drive which meant I could not access Tut research notes which hung the whole system and lost the first draft of this page, it might have been a sign to leave well alone and on reading this page I think plenty will agree. Scoff if you dare. I've taped an X onto my window and am waiting...the truth is out there.
This is getting more like vanity publishing by the page so lets get back to what everyone is paying me for, cigarette cards.
The cigarette card manufacturers pulled out all the stops in the production of Egyptian cards and some of the most colourful of all time were produced as fitting tribute to all that gold. Cavanders have to be commended for their efforts in this matter.
The picture writing of the Egyptians were ideal material for cigarette cards, stylised as they were with bold colours they were the height of fashion during the 1920's and the Art Deco movement. The Cavander sets use these glyphs extensively showing Egyptians in various activities. Fishing, Slaughtering cattle and the like.
For a great many years the hieroglyphic writing defied reading until the French Egyptologist solved the riddle with the help of 'The Rosetta Stone'. This being named after the town it was discovered near by the French army in Aug 1799. It had on it hieroglyphic and demotic forms of Egyptian and also Greek translation. Card 31, Churchmans, Treasure Trove.
The Egyptians also had a very rich religious life as well. Indeed Tut saw the disappearance of a religious cult which was threatening to de-stablise the whole society. This cult was originally started by a husband and wife team. Which just goes to prove there is nothing new to be done in this old world.
The mythology of the Egyptians and their Royalty were the inspiration for the Players set which must be one of the longest titles for any set of cigarette cards, Players, Egyptian Kings & Queens and Classical Deities . Quite why they felt it was so necessary to create such a long winded title I do not know but I suppose they had their reasons.
|Players, Egyptian Kings &
Queens and Classical
Unfortunately King Tut does not appear in this set as historically (at least until the 1920's) he was a very minor player. The first 12 cards of the series is dedicated to Royalty. Card 9 being Queen Cleopatra (yet another movie tie-in) which mentions the romance of her life, Anthony which was something Shakespeare made play of.
It also mentions that '...in order to show her extravagance, she dissolved a most valuable pearl in a goblet of wine and drank it.' Difficult to say how extravagant that is when you stack it up against the coffin minor celeb. King Tut lay in.
Mind you given the fact it is impossible to dissolve a pearl in wine, she was either drinking some darn strong brews or someone was gilding the lilly.
The deities are rather a bizarre lot. No sign of Jackal headed Gods of the underworld here. Rather a disappointment to discover Neptune, Ajax, Mercury, Minerva. Come on Players, what's going on here.