Golden Mummies : Coffin

Golden Mummies

<p style='text-align: justify;'>Lid from the coffin of a young girl, made of layers of linen and plaster (cartonnage), then painted and gilded. Extra plaster has been added to create jewellery and a floral wreath on the girl's head. Her hair was originally added with curls of vegetable fibre, but these have fallen off, leaving a rough black painted surface.</p><p style='text-align: justify;'>The girl wears a striped, ankle-length dress with elbow-length sleeves, and a striped shawl or mantle drawn over her shoulders, with one end hanging free over her left shoulder. The same mantle, or perhaps an overskirt, is wrapped around her waist, over the darker red dress. On her feet are black boots which lace-up ties. She also wears several rings, bracelets, armlets above her elbows, and large hoop earrings that end in an animal head. </p><p style='text-align: justify;'>The girl has white skin, which symbolizes the gleaming or shining appearance of people who had died and been reborn. Her eyes are outlined in black, and her mouth and facial contours are drawn in red. Although the girl was very young when she died (based on the small size of the coffin), she is shown with an adult woman's body, often associated with the goddess Hathor, imparting divine maturity in the afterlife.</p><p style='text-align: justify;'>Around the back of her head, there are depicitions of Anubis and two goddesses, probably Isis and Nephthys. Protective gods are shown along the sides of the coffin, under her arms. The foot end is painted with basket-work sandal soles. A deep lip around the bottom edge of the coffin was designed to fit into a shallow base made of the same material, but this is not preserved. The girl's body does not survive.</p><p style='text-align: justify;'>A number of coffins like this were made in the town of Akhmim in the 1st century BC (c. 75 - 50 BCE), and can be found in museums around the world. The coffins show a contemporary style of dress and jewellery, along with traditional Egyptian symbols. This coffin is not inscribed, but some other examples have Demotic Egyptian inscriptions, naming the deceased and praying to the Egyptian gods.</p>

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