Anthropoid outer coffin of Seshepenmehyt

The outer coffin of Seshepenmehyt is made of sycamore fig wood, with elaborate polychrome painted decoration. A winged solar disc covers the right breast, and below, a narrow scene showing the weighing of the deceased’s heart (at right). At the level of the knees, Anubis is represented mummifying the deceased as she lies on a bier, while figures of other deities give symbolic protection.

The inscriptions tell us little of Seshepenmehyt beyond the fact that she was ‘lady of the house’ and that she played the sistrum to accompany rituals in the temple of Amun-Ra at Thebes. X-rays of the mummy show that beneath the wrappings, is the body of an adult, who died between 25 and 40 years of age.

Base and lid of an anthropoid outer coffin of Seshepenmehyt
Base and lid of an anthropoid outer coffin of Seshepenmehyt

The area is densely inscribed with short columns of text interspersed among these images, and there is a large painted inscription around the sides and the base. On the interior of the case is a large mummiform figure grasping a ‘was’ scepter and wearing the ‘atef’ crown. The deity represented is Ptah-Sokar-Osiris. He is flanked by Isis and Nephthys and has a solar disc above his head. The thickness of the coffin is painted with a checkered pattern.

Late Period, 26th Dynasty, ca. 600 BC. Found at Thebes. Now in the British Museum, London. EA22814

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