Inner Coffin of Meret-it-es

Except for her missing mummy, almost everything buried with the noblewoman Meret-it-es, this inner coffin, the outer coffin that contained it, the gold that lay over the mummy and 305 statuettes.

Although little is known about Meret-it-es, her funerary equipment reveals much about Egyptian religion. Remarkably thick and weighing 400 pounds, this coffin was meant to preserve Meret-it-es’s mummy so that her spirit could live eternally in the hereafter.

Inner Coffin of Meret-it-es
Inner Coffin of Meret-it-es

In part, to ensure that she would become a divine spirit, she is portrayed as a god with golden flesh and blue hair; her unarticulated body resembles the mummified ruler of the underworld, Osiris.

In the center of the coffin the sky goddess Nut spreads her wings, protecting Meret-it-es. A bit below this, Meret-it-es appears before the ibis-headed god Thoth, having been accepted into the hereafter. High above, on the red plaque, she approaches Osiris: her journey into the next world is complete.

Described basically from top to bottom. Broad wig surmounted by a winged scarab facing downwards. Gilded face with slight smile, raised eyebrows, and frontally oriented ears.

Eyes and eyebrows painted. Below neck and between ends of wig, three-figured scene with background in red (standing mummiform Osiris in center with fetish behind him and deceased in front).

Broad usekh necklace terminating in Horus-falcon heads, each crowned with large green disk and facing outwards towards partially green wadjet eye.

Below the broad necklace, a winged scarab climbing up with green disk before him and smaller red disk behind. Below, two rams facing each other with two columns of hieroglyphs in between. Kneeling, winged protective goddess below.

Deceased on bier between mourning Nephthys and Isis with Four Sons of Horus below bier and bird flying above. Three-figure scene directly below: enthroned Thoth facing right with female deity crowned with Maat feather behind;robed figure approaches Thoth.

Five long columns of hieroglyphs; three with blue background alternating with two framed in blue. On each side of the center, nine rows of deities: deities on the bottom four rows seated and mummiform; deities on the top five rows are standing. All have hieroglyphs. Below, on each narrow side, an ankh symbol flanked by two was scepters and two additional symbols.

At bottom, on front of rectangular pedestal, figure of kneeling man on boat paddling to left. On short left side of pedestal two standing figures flanking a structure with bird on top; on short right side, three seated deities with heads of hare, snake, and bovine.

Description, body of coffin, the back

In central zone from top to bottom. Striding cow between two seated ibis-headed mummiform deities. Below, an image of Osiris (djed column with his attributes) worshiped by flanking Isis and Nephthys with two baboons above the goddesses.

Female figure with lowered arms flanked on each side by three superimposed mummiform deities facing her; five long columns of hieroglyphs (three with blue background alternating with two framed in blue).

Thirteen rows of flanking, standing deities on the narrow sides from top to bottom, many with hieroglyphs. On front of rectangular pedestal, three seated mummiform figures (the deceased between Horus and Thoth) on boat heading to right.

On short left side of pedestal a boat set into a structure; on short right side, a solar disk on a boat.

Ptolemaic Period, ca. 305-30 BC. Made of wood, pigment, gesso, and gilding. Now in the Nelson-Atkins Museum of Art, Kansas City, Missouri. 2007.12.2.A,B