Funerary Equipment

The types of funerary equipment Egyptians put into their tombs had become standardized long before the New Kingdom, according to texts, images, and archaeological data. Based on the rank and economic means of the individual, provisions for a proper burial included a secure container for the mummified remains, food offerings, protective figures and objects, servant statues (shabtis), furniture, tools, weapons, and clothing. In addition to being emblems of status and for actual use in the afterlife, some also functioned on a symbolic level to aid in resurrection and to offer protection.    
The mummified remains of Egypt's elite were enclosed in a nested set of coffins placed in a sarcophagus, usually a stone box covered with a lid. In Old Kingdom and Middle Kingdom royal and private burials, sarcophagi and coffins were rectangular. Images of gates were carved on the sides and ends, and the top of the cover was vaulted, so that it resembled an idealized house or palace.    
In the New Kingdom, from the reign of Hatshepsut onwards, royal mummies were placed in stone sarcophagi. The stone used through the reign of Thutmes IV was quartzite, a metamorphic form of sandstone. From Amenhetep III onwards, royal sarcophagi generally were carved from red Aswan granite. The sarcophagi of the Dynasty 18 kings, through the reign of Amenhetep III, were cartouche-shaped in plan, with representations of Anubis and the four sons of Horus on the sides [10650, 10651, 10652], Isis and Nephthys on the foot and head ends [10643, 10644], and Nut on the lid. Royal sarcophagi from the Amarna period to the end of the dynasty revert to the rectangular shrine shape with figures of protective goddesses sculpted on the corners [13844, 14747].     10650 10651 10652 10643 10644 13844 14747

Published or last modified on: December 19, 2002
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