Inner coffin of Shepenmehyt

From Qurna, Thebes, Egypt
26th Dynasty, about 600 BC

Scenes of the Afterlife

Shepenmehyt's mummy was encased in two anthropoid (human-shaped) coffins, one inside the other. This is the inner of the two. It is covered inside and out with scenes and inscriptions relating to the Afterlife.

The face of the dead woman is painted green, to emphasize her association with the god Osiris, who had strong links with vegetation, as a metaphor for rebirth. A scene painted across the torso shows, at right, the weighing of Shepenmehyt's heart in the balance of judgement, to determine whether or not she had lived a good life, free from wrongdoing. Having passed this test, she is shown clad in a red robe, and led by the ibis-headed Thoth towards a series of divinities, including Osiris, Isis, Nephthys and the Sons of Horus. Protective gods stand along both sides of the lid, each accompanied by a speech, announcing their guardianship over the dead woman.

The interior of the coffin is decorated in a much more restrained style, with texts and figures of the goddess Nut drawn in black outline on a white ground. The request for funerary offerings is repeated. Usually on coffins of persons of higher status there are more specific extracts from the Book of the Dead.

Find in the collection online

More information


C.A.R. Andrews, Egyptian mummies (London, The British Museum Press, 1984)


Height: 171.000 cm

Museum number

EA 22814B


Gift of King Edward VII


Find in the collection online

Search highlights

There are over 4,000 highlight objects to explore