Work of Art: Inner Coffin of Djedmut
Third Intermediate-Late Period, Dynasty XXV-XXVI
Inner Coffin of Djedmut
Circa 715-525 B.C.E.
Wood with linen, gesso, and paint
71 x 21 1/8 x 7 1/2 in. (180.3 x 53.7 x 19.1 cm)
Gift of the James G. Hanes Memorial Fund

This wooden anthropoid coffin was the final resting place of the deceased, identified by hieroglyphs as Djedmut. She was the daughter of a man called Nakht-Hor-eru and born to the lady of the house, Katch-en-Hor. Djedmut's features are stylized, showing her as an eternally young and beautiful woman. She wears a wig, small earrings, and a colorful broad collar around her neck and shoulders.

The vignettes painted on the coffin are illustrations from the Book of the Dead, and the texts offer formulas ensuring Djedmut has all the necessary goods for the afterlife. In the top register, Djedmut's heart is being weighed against the feather of truth (far right). Her heart being as light as the feather and thus deemed honest and truthful, Djedmut is introduced to Osiris, the god and king of the dead, by Thoth, the ibis-headed god, and Ma'at, the goddess of truth (center).

On the inside of the coffin and the lid, the goddess Nut is depicted standing on a divine perch. As the goddess of the sky, Nut was said to give birth to the sun every morning. She was also the mother of Osiris, who was mummified and reborn after death. Once the mummy was placed inside the coffin and the lid closed, the deceased was symbolically inside the womb of Nut and thus would be like the sun and Osiris reborn.

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