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Work Tamutnefret's coffins
Department of Egyptian Antiquities: Religious and funerary beliefs
© Musée du Louvre/G. Poncet
Religious and funerary beliefs
Tamutnefret, a singer of Amun, was buried in a superb set of two beautifully decorated coffins, with an openwork decorated wood top covering her mummy. These coffins present an idealized image of the deceased, represented as a wrapped mummy, like Orisis. The various spirits and deities depicted on each of the elements were meant to provide Tamutnefret with magical protection for safe survival in the afterlife.
An early acquisition
This extremely beautiful set of coffins was probably brought back from Egypt by Jean-François Champollion, who deciphered ancient hieroglyphs and was the first curator of the Louvre's Egyptian collection, after his trip to Egypt in 1830. They are in perfect condition, and are entirely characteristic of funerary groups found from the early Ramessid period, notably the 19th Dynasty.
Tamutnefret is depicted on the coffin covers wearing a heavy wig, with gilded strips on the sides. Her gentle, smiling face is entirely gilded and is framed by two large locks of hair; a wide floral band wraps around her head. A magnificent collar covers her chest and crossed arms; only her gilded hands are not covered. At her waist is an elegant image of Nut, the goddess of the sky, portrayed in a kneeling pose with her winged arms spread in a protective gesture. Three vertical lines of texts, crossed by horizontal lines representing the linen strips of the mummy, cover her legs. These texts include the names and titles of the deceased, the singer of Amun, Tamutnefret, as well as a simple appeal asking Nut to place her among the eternal stars, a common prayer during this era. Vertical lines of inscriptions along the outer walls of the coffin frame images of the ibis-headed god Thot, the dog-headed god Anubis, and the four sons of Horus: Imsety (with a human head), Duamutef (with a dog's head), Hapi (with a monkey's head), and Qebehsenuf (with a falcon's head). The gilding that covers the visible parts of Tamoutnefret's body, hands, face, and neck, evokes the flesh of the gods.
The cover of Tamutnefret's mummy
A two-part wooden cover was placed over Tamutnefret's mummy. The top section covered the upper part of the body; the bottom section protected the stomach and legs. The face of the deceased is identical to that on the covers, and she is also depicted with her arms crossed over her chest. On this object, however, the soft folds of her flared sleeves are indicated by thin red lines. The bottom section is a good example of an openwork wood design. A central line of inscriptions under the image of Nut continues all the way to the feet, and is intersected at regular intervals by horizontal bands of writing. Two small scenes depict the ibis-headed god Thot offering the wedjat eye, a symbol of physical integrity, to a seated god, whose body is wrapped in a shroud. The rest of the décor depicts Tamutnefret standing and worshipping or playing a sistrum opposite Anubis and the four sons of Horus. Finally, two kneeling goddesses at her feet, Isis and Nephtys, weep for the deceased as they grieved for Osiris in the myth.
Bibliography- PIERRAT G., L'Egypte au Louvre, 1997, p. 19.
New Kingdom, Ramessid Period, 19th Dynasty, 1295-1186 BC
Polychrome wood, gilding
N 2631: L.: 1.92 m; D.: 0.59 mN2571: L.: 1.8 m; D.: 0.48 m N 2623, N 2620: L.: 1.11 m; W.: 0.33 m; D.: 0.21 m
Purchased during Champollion mission 1830
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