Coffin Cover of Panehesy

The mummy case of the priest Panehesy is a very nice specimen, decorated with winged figures of gods and hieroglyphs. These paintings have a general protective significance. On the back of the sleeve you can see a ‘djed pillar’, the Egyptian symbol for sustainability and eternal existence.

For the ancient Egyptians, life after death was very important. Therefore, they prepared themselves already in life and well being as well as possible for it. The dead were mummified and around 900 BC. The Egyptians began to make close-fitting sleeves for the mummies.

Coffin Cover of Panehesy
Coffin Cover of Panehesy. Photo: Colin Cuthbert

The material of such a sleeve comprised of linen that had been soaked in Arabic gum. The sleeve was then plastered, pulled around the mummy and tied with laces on the back. The sleeve was painted in different colors, and often covered with gold leaf.

The case is made of cartonnage, which is fabricated from layers of linen or papyrus covered with plaster. The layers were flexible enough to be molded while wet against the surface of the mummified and wrapped body.

Once dried, the plastered surface was brightly painted and inscribed, and/or gilded to form the innermost coffin of elite burials during that period.

Third Intermediate Period, 22nd Dynasty, ca. 945-720 BC. Now in the Rijksmuseum van Oudheden (National Museum of Antiquities), Leiden. AMM 17-e

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