Gilded outer coffin of Henutmehyt

From the tomb of Henutmehyt, Thebes, Egypt
19th Dynasty, around 1250 BC

The chantress of Amun, a high-ranking lady of the later New Kingdom

The coffins of Henutmehyt, originally placed one inside the other, were all anthropoid (human-shaped). Like tomb-statues, this type of coffin was believed to provide the spirit with a substitute body if the mummy should perish. The physical form, with crossed arms, together with the inscriptions and the figures of protective gods and goddesses all emphasized the identification of the dead person with the god Osiris. The implication was that, like him, they might experience resurrection.

Henutmehyt's outer coffin provides a magnificent idealized image of the dead woman, adorned with her full wig. A collar is spread over the breast, and below it hangs a pectoral (chest) ornament flanked by protective wedjat eyes. The sky-goddess Nut spreads her winged arms protectively across the body, and the hieroglyphic text immediately below invokes her.

Vertical and horizontal bands divide the remainder of the lid into compartments which are occupied by figures of the Sons of Horus and the goddesses Isis and Nephthys. Further divine figures are painted along the sides of the coffin.

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Gilded outer coffin of Henutmehyt

Front view

  • ¾ view

    ¾ view

  • ¾ view

    ¾ view


More information


T. Potts, Civilization: ancient treasure, exh. cat. (Canberra, Australian National Gallery, 1990)

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

J.H. Taylor, Egyptian coffins (Aylesbury, Shire Publications, 1989)


Height: 208.000 cm
Width: 59.000 cm

Museum number

EA 48001



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