The Chantress of Amun-Re Henettawy died young, still in her early 20s, around the year 1000 BCE and was laid to rest in a tomb that had originally been the final resting place of one of Hatshepsut’s officials some 500 years earlier.

Like most tombs of the time her tomb wasn’t decorated, and so all the visual symbolism necessary for a safe & effective afterlife was painted onto her coffins. This is a detail from the inner coffin, part of the right hand side of the lid around knee level.

The background is painted yellow, to mimic the gold that a royal coffin would’ve been made from. And the whole thing is covered in cobras, which are protecting the deities depicted as well as Henettawy herself. Another repeated motif is the djed pillar, symbolising stablity.

On the left of this section is a scarab beetle who is pushing the sun up into the sky. The beetle’s back legs clutch on to a shen-ring, which symbolises eternity. To the right of this is the creator god Khnum as a ram, being worshipped by Henattawy on the right hand side.

Detail of the Inner Coffin of Henettawy. Henettawy was only 21 when she died, and was buried in a plundered tomb which had previously belonged to one of Hatshepsut’s officals. From MMA59, Deir el Bahri, Thebes. Third Intermediate Period, late Dynasty 21, c.1000-945 BCE. Acc. No.: 25.3.183

Henettawy’s coffin set is now in the Met Museum, and the accession number of this part of it is 25.3.183.

See it on my photo site:

I’ve written about scarab beetles & the sun on the blog before:

And I’ve also written about Khnum:

Jigsaw Puzzles:

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