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Box of food of Henutmehyt


Height: 16.000 cm
Width: 64.000 cm
Depth: 46.300 cm

Gift of Sir R. Hamilton Lang

EA 51812

    Box of food of Henutmehyt

    From the tomb of Henutmehyt, Thebes, Egypt
    19th Dynasty, around 1290 BC

    From the earliest times in Egypt food offerings were an important part of burials of people of all social levels. Indeed, they were considered essential, in order to support the deceased in the Afterlife. Tomb decoration often depicted the tomb owner seated before an offering table, piled high with many different types of food, from bread to pomegranates. This magically ensured that the offerings would continue long after the tomb owner's descendants, or priests paid for the service, had stopped providing them.

    The lavish burial of Henutmehyt used another means of guaranteeing that food was available for eternity. This box is made of expensive sycamore wood, coated with resin. The black colour of the resin is associated with the Afterlife, and with rebirth. The box contains a large amount of meat. There are four whole ducks, and several joints of meat, possibly from goats. All these pieces have been individually mummified and wrapped. The inclusion of meat offerings in the tomb was the prerogative of kings and members of the royal family. It is very unusual to find it associated with the burial of a private individual such as the priestess Henutmehyt.

    J.H. Taylor, Studies in Egyptian antiquitie, British Museum Occasional Paper 123 (, 1999)


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