Mummy cover of woman with crossed arms - ROM2005_5707_1


Mummy cover of woman with crossed arms

Medium:Wood, gesso, paint
Geography: Thebes (modern Luxor), Egypt
Date: c. 1069-945 BC
Period: Mid 21st Dynasty, 3rd Intermediate Period
160 × 39.5 × 16 cm
Object number: 2005.86.1
Credit Line: Gift of the Louise Hawley Stone Charitable Trust.
Not on view

Mummy covers were place within the coffin, directly over the body, functioning as a kind of mummy mask.  They were in use for about two hundred years.  The style and decoration informs us that the deceased was a woman of property and a member of the 'clerical class' in Thebes.

In this fine example, the deceased lady is shown as an 'akh,' a glorified spirit who dwells with Osiris and now sees the gods face to face.  She is now a powerful spirit whose assistance can be entreated by the living.  Unfortunately, the name of the deceased is not written on this cover, though it may well have been on her coffin.

The central lines of text over what would have been the lady's legs repeat the traditiional hotep di nesu formula that assures the living that Osiris will supply her with a thousand loaves of bread, a thousand jugs of beer, and other food and supplies for all eternity.

The pattern of decoration is traditional, but the gently melancholy face, framed by a festival wig, is exceptionally beautiful.

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