The mummy of Peftjauneith, inspector of temple estates in the Egyptian Nile delta, was found lying in this beautifully painted coffin. The decoration is an indication of his high function in society. The coffin is made of solid wood which must have cost a fortune in Egypt. Such beautiful timber had to be imported, for instance from the forests of the Lebanon. Moreover, the coffin is exquisitely painted in extraordinarily fine detail.
The outside of the coffin shows how the deceased was depicted in the guise of the god Osiris himself. This is indicated by the striated divine wig, the divine beard, and the green face (in Egypt green was the colour of vegetation and new life). A splendid collar lies on the chest, with underneath a depiction of the sky goddess, Nut, with her outspread wings. A spell from the Book of the Dead has been written on the abdomen. Each individual hieroglyph is a self-contained picture full of detail.
The inside of the lid features another picture of the celestial goddess Nut. Here she is represented as the nocturnal sky, black-skinned and strewn with stars. She gives birth to the moon crescent and is swallowing the round evening sun. She is flanked by the twelve hours of day and night. On the bottom of the coffin there is a picture of the goddess of the West, the quarter where the realm of the dead was thought to be Origin.
Object: Mummy coffin
Dating from: c. 650 B.C.
Size: 36 x 63 x 240 cm
Origin: Egypt, Saqqara
Code: AMM 5-e