One mummy – many coffins
2013-08-23 0:00

From: Past Horizons



Boxes and other forms of containers are technologies that arise at given points of time in various cultures. Everybody knows the ancient Egyptian practice of mummifying their dead. What is perhaps less known is that they placed the mummies inside layer upon layer of coffins says Anders Bettum, Egyptologist at the Department of Culture Studies and Oriental Languages, University of Oslo.

A similar idea can be found with Russian dolls, Chinese boxes and even Norwegian poetry traditions.

“The Egyptian coffin sets are based on the same principle that we can observe with Chinese boxes and Russian nested matryoshka dolls, where objects are nested inside each other to constitute a complete ensemble,” he says.


Coffin set belonging to the temple singer Tamutnofret, composed of an outer coffin, an inner coffin and a “mummy-cover”, a full-length death mask that was placed over the mummy. The origin of the set is a now unknown grave in Thebes. It can be dated back to the reign of Ramses II (approx. 1279-1213 BCE).

Ancient Egyptian history encompasses a period of nearly three thousand years, up to the Roman conquest in the year 30 BCE. Today, museums all over the world possess mummies or coffins that have contained mummies of more or less prominent men and women.

The child king Tutankhamun (1334-24 BCE) was buried in as many as eight coffins, according to Bettum.

“For men and women who were members of the ancient Egyptian elite at that time, three or four coffins were not unusual,” he adds.

Linking the dead to the gods

According to the researcher’s recent PhD thesis, “Faces within Faces – The Symbolic Function of Nested Yellow Coffins in Ancient Egypt”, nested coffins were not only a status symbol for the Egyptian elite.

“They also played a key role in the process that would link the deceased to their ancestors: to Osiris, the god of the afterlife, and to Amun-Ra, the sun- and creator god,” Bettum says.

Funeral rituals – a unification of two myths

The rituals and the myths that were reiterated during the seventy days that a funeral lasted are symbolically rendered on the coffins. The components of each nest, including the mummy-cover, the inner and outer coffins – reflect the Egyptians’ view of the world.

[...]

Read the full article at: pasthorizonspr.com



Related Articles
Mummified women, human sacrifices discovered in ancient Peruvian tomb
2,500-year-old mummy removed from coffin for rare cleaning
Hair products revealed in new study of Egyptian mummies
Egyptian Mummies as Commodities
Mummy Evisceration Techniques
Mummies come to life through facial reconstruction
Who stabbed him in the back? Scan reveals 5,500-year-old mummy murder mystery
A long-lost piece of King Tut
Mystery of King Tut’s death solved?
Mysterious Coffin Found At Richard III’s Burial Site Contains... A Second Coffin
Coffin culture evolves in Russia


Latest News from our Front Page

Congratulations Pussy Porters!
2015-03-26 18:52
Mural paid for by the government, decorates a Swedish school. On International Women’s day Julia Caesar published this chronicle in Swedish on Snaphanen which I’ve translated but prior to reading it I’d like to provide you with some background information on certain terms which are incomprehensible to non-Swedes. First and foremost “pussy porter” and “penis porter” are terms that third-wave feminists in ...
Germanwings co-pilot appears to have crashed plane deliberately – prosecutor
2015-03-26 18:08
The Germanwings co-pilot seemed to have crashed the plane deliberately, killing 150 people on board. The co-pilot wouldn’t let the captain inside the cabin, with the “intension to destroy” the jet, the French prosecutor said at a press conference. Follow RT’s live updates on investigation into Germanwings plane crash The Germanwings co-pilot was identified as Andreas Lubitz. The captain was between 30 ...
Sweden adds gender-neutral pronoun to dictionary
2015-03-25 19:38
The official dictionary of the Swedish language will introduce a gender-neutral pronoun in April, editors at the Swedish Academy have announced. “Hen” will be added to “han” (he) and “hon” (she) as one of 13,000 new words in the latest edition of the Swedish Academy’s SAOL. The pronoun is used to refer to a person without revealing their gender – either because ...
Unchecked government drones? Not over my backyard
2015-03-25 0:27
On last Thursday, the Federal Aviation Administration gave Amazon the green light to begin testing drones. While you aren’t likely to be getting your Amazon order delivered by drone anytime soon, as the approval is limited to research and testing, the fact remains that this technology is already part of our lives. Drones are already helping the federal government observe and ...
Finland schools: Subjects scrapped and replaced with 'topics' as country reforms its education system
2015-03-25 0:46
For years, Finland has been the by-word for a successful education system, perched at the top of international league tables for literacy and numeracy. Only far eastern countries such as Singapore and China outperform the Nordic nation in the influential Programme for International Student Assessment (PISA) rankings. Politicians and education experts from around the world – including the UK – have ...
More News »