Golden Mummies : Coffin

Golden Mummies

<p style='text-align: justify;'>Linen-and-plaster (cartonnage) cover for the mummified body of a young woman or adolescent girl. The woman's face, neck, breasts and toenails are gilded. Her hair is arranged in long, dark corkscrew curls, and she wears a wreath of red flowers on top of her head; elements that emphasise festivity. The unusually exposed breasts evoke sexuality in the service of rebirth and allude to the form of the goddess Hathor, with whom the female deceased was associated in this period.</p><p style='text-align: justify;'>Her feet are painted reddish-brown; she wears black sandals with a strap across the toes and straps around the ankles. The sides of the cover are divided into panels, in each of which sits a god or goddess. Red or blue paint has been applied secondarily as background colour. </p><p style='text-align: justify;'>On top of the lid, a broad collar protects the area underneath the woman's breasts; just below the broad collar is a winged scarab. Osiris and the Four Sons of Horus appear next, each in a brightly painted compartment. Below is the winged goddess Nut, shown kneeling. Below her are three djed-pillars (symbols of Osiris), alternating with two tyet-knots (symbol of Isis). Finally, two jackals rest on shrines or gateways just above the feet. The jackals represent Anubis.</p><p style='text-align: justify;'>This cover lid closely resembles other coffins now in museums in Berlin, Heidelberg, Cleveland, Amsterdam, and Paris. Some of these coffin lids refer to the Kharga Oasis, suggesting that they were produced there. Although the Manchester lid was apparently purchased at Koptos (Qift), in the Nile Valley, it is possible that it was originally from Kharga Oasis as well. An example in the British Museum excavated in Aswan may provide a parallel for a two-part cartonnage coffin.</p>

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