September 21, 2015
This outer case, or coffin, of a mummy was created by applying plaster on top of layers of cloth and then painting the plaster. After a body underwent preservation processes, it was put into this type of coffin. The Egyptians were firm believers of the afterlife and viewed the process of mummification as necessary to ensure their arrival to the next world. It was typical for the wealthy class to have elaborately decorated mummy cases that were painted with Egyptian gods or other religious symbols. On this piece, Ra, the sun god, and the most important god in the Egyptian pantheon, is represented in the upper left. The figure in the upper right is Nepthys, a protective goddess of the dead. Anubis, son of Nepthys and the god of embalming and the dead, is in the lower left corner. Anubis watches over the mummification process, so it is particularly fitting that he appear on a mummy casing. This fascinating artifact is currently on exhibit in MOA’s Cabinet of Curiosities.