Over four decades since completing a life-size replica of the infamous Tutankhamen burial mask, Cramlington resident Ken Rebair was reunited with his masterpiece after visiting the museum which houses it.
Ken began work on the stunning replica mask in 1972 after being inspired when the iconic treasure, discovered in 1922 by archaeologist Howard Carter, was displayed at the British Museum.
He obtained copies of the photos from the museum and used these to create a scale, ensuring his model maintained the correct dimensional proportions.
The replica, painstakingly carved from beech wood, took Ken two years to complete, finishing work on the mask in 1974. After hearing about Ken’s incredible achievement he was approached by the Great North Museum in Newcastle to see if they could feature the mask as part of their Ancient Egypt exhibition.
Ken now lives in Astor Court Care Home in Cramlington, a care home that offers nursing and residential care for the elderly and those living with dementia, after being diagnosed with dementia.
After hearing about Ken’s amazing story, Activities Coordinator at Astor Court Richard Dobinson decided to take Ken on a trip to the museum to see the mask in person – over fourty one years after he donated the mask.
Richard said that he was thrilled with Ken’s reaction to seeing his mask again after all these years: “There was some question as to whether Ken would recognise the mask as he has advanced dementia but as soon as we came to the cabinet his face lit up, it was amazing to see.”
“Ken started telling me all about how he’d constructed the mask, how he’d mixed his paint to match the original. It was absolutely incredible.”
“On the day there must have been a few school trips to the museum and lots of children gathered round to look at the mask and hear Ken talking about how me made it. It was very moving.”