Golden Mummies : Mummified body of a woman

Golden Mummies

<p style='text-align: justify;'>Mummified body and coffin of a woman named Tasheriankh. The style of the coffin decoration date to the early Ptolemaic Period (perhaps around 300-200 BCE) and, along with the titles held by Tasheriankh’s parents in the cult of the god Min, indicate that she was buried at the important site Akhmim in Upper Egypt. Both the mummified body and coffin were donated by the Member of Parliament for Monmouthshire, George Elliot, who donated them to Newport Museum in the late Nineteenth Century, whence they were transferred to Salford Museum and Art Gallery and on Manchester Museum in the late 1970s.</p><p style='text-align: justify;'>The name ‘Ta-sheri-ankh’ means ‘the living (female) child,’ a reflection of the high infant mortality rate in ancient times. Her father is named Irethoriru (lit. ‘the eye of Horus is against them (i.e. one’s enemies)’ and he was a ‘smaty’ (or ‘stolist’), a commonly-attested title for priests of Min, the preeminent god of Akhmim; her mother was a sistrum-player of Min called Muthotep (lit. ‘(the goddess) Mut is satisfied’). Both parents’ titles confirm the stylistic association with the site of Akhmim. The deceased is referred to in the inscriptions as the ‘Hathor Tasheriankh’, one of the earliest cases of identifying the female deceased with the goddess of the west (and therefore the dead) rather than with Osiris.</p><p style='text-align: justify;'>Beneath the wide-eyed face radiates an elaborate broad collar – or wesekh – with falcon-headed terminals at each end. It frames the hieroglyphic sign for ‘heart’. A winged goddess with outstretched arms is plausibly to be interpreted as the sky goddess Nut, as an outlined figure of Nut is also painted on the inner base of Tasheriankh’s coffin. Beneath the goddess is a key vignette showing the mummy on a lion-form bier flanked by Isis and Nephthys, the goddesses who effect the rebirth of their brother Osiris.</p><p style='text-align: justify;'>The inclusion of canopic jars beneath the bier is a fiction; provision of physical jars had fallen out of use by the Ptolemaic Period and CT-scans show that Tasheriankh’s wrapped internal organs have been returned to the chest cavity. Represented standing at either side of Isis and Nephthys, the Four Sons of Horus – Imsety, Duamutef, Hapi and Qebehsenuef – grasp red bandages, a ritual attribute connected with wrapping and protecting the body.</p><p style='text-align: justify;'>On the lower part of the coffin, further divine protection was secured by identifying parts of the deceased directly with named deities. In common with a number of other Ptolemaic coffins from Akhmim, Tasheriankh was provided with a panel of text columns from Chapter 42 of the Book of the Dead – a spell against slaughterers. Written in retrograde – from left to right although the hieroglyphs are oriented right to left – the text is voiced from the perspective of the deceased declaring divine associations with each body part and ends with the powerful statement ‘there is no body-part of mine devoid of a god’.</p><p style='text-align: justify;'>At the foot end appear two jackals atop shrines, oriented as if to be seen by Tasheirankh herself. On the cartonnage chest piece, motif of Anubis tending the deceased again appears. This time it has only three stylised jars and Anubis holding a red bandage and a vessel aloft. This vignette succinctl</p>

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