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Permanent Collection: Ancient Egyptian Art:
Coffin of Nebetit

Coffin of Nebetit

Late Eleventh Dynasty, ca. 2061-1991 B.C. Wood, Plaster, Paint. Funded by John A. Manget, 1921.2

This rectangular coffin was put together from local timber for a priestess of the goddess Hathor called Nebetit. The head end is identified by a pair of stylized eyes, known as wedjat eyes, painted in a panel on the side. The coffin would have been oriented in the tomb with the head end pointing north. This would have enabled the deceased, lying on her side, magically to look out through the wedjat eyes at the sun rising on the eastern horizon-a symbol of rebirth.

The coffin has hieroglyphic inscriptions on the sides, end, and lid. The vertical inscriptions on the sides and ends identify the owner. The long horizontal inscriptions consist of "offering formulae" and ask for offerings for the ka (spirit) of Nebetit. These include beef, fowl, bread, and beer, as well as a request for "a good burial in her tomb in the necropolis of the western desert."


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