Carlotta - the museum database


Egypten 9.2 :: Coffins

Object description

The mummy was placed in one or more coffins. The first coffins were short and square and made of wood. However, towards the end of the Old Kingdom, the coffins became more elongated, a shape commonly used throughout the Middle Kingdom.

In the wooden box-shaped coffins, the mummies were placed on their left sides. It was believed that the deceased could look out through the eyes painted at the head end of the coffin. On the outside of the coffin was inscribed an offering formula. During the Middle Kingdom, the so-called Coffin Texts, a precursor to the Book of the Dead, were inscribed on the inner walls of the coffin.

As of the New Kingdom, human-shaped coffins, often two or three placed inside another, became commonplace. The outermost coffin had to be of significant size in order to house its two interior coffins. The mummy was placed on its back in the innermost coffin. The coffins were painted and decorated with religious motifs as well as the name and titles of the deceased.