Menat Counterpoise

Counterpoises like this are often attached to necklaces made of beads, called a menat, which were used like a rattle to make noise during rituals for the goddess Hathor. This one however was intended to have an aegis attached, it no longer exists but maybe depicted Hathor.

An aegis is a collar with a deity’s face above it, and it would’ve been attached so that when the counterpoise was held in the hand to shake the goddess’s face was upright. I assume (but am not sure) that there would also still have been beads to make it a rattle.

The goddess picked out in gold inlay in the top part of the object is called Nebethetepet – she’s associated with Hathor and personifies the original creative act of Atum. The columns on either side of her do have Hathor heads, and there’s a Hathor head above the shrine too.

At the bottom of the object is Horus as a falcon, sitting in the papyrus marshes – a reference to how he was hidden away when young so that Seth couldn’t find him and murder him like he’d murdered Osiris. Hathor was one of Horus’s protectors during this time.

I like the way bronze with gold inlay objects such as this look, with the shiny gold against the warm dark bronze. But it’s important to remember that’s probably not how it looked! The bronze would’ve been shinier in the past and there may even have been colour added.

Menat Counterpoise (for Attachment to an Aegis). Provenance unknown. Third Intermediate Period – Late Period, c. 800-525 BCE. Acc. No.: 08.202.15

The counterpoise dates to the Third Intermediate Period or Late Period, and it’s not known where it was found. It’s now in the Met Museum, acc. no.: 08.202.15.

See it on my photo site: https://photos.talesfromthetwolands.org/picture.php?/1436/

Some of the legends I’ve retold on the blog are referenced in this object:
The Heliopolitan creation myth: https://talesfromthetwolands.org/2019/11/01/how-everything-became/
The death of Osiris: https://talesfromthetwolands.org/2019/09/01/the-draught-of-her-wings-was-the-breath-of-life-in-his-nose/
Two episodes from the dispute between Horus & Seth: https://talesfromthetwolands.org/2020/01/11/from-his-own-mouth-condemned/ and https://talesfromthetwolands.org/2021/06/07/weep-not-for-horus/

Jigsaw Puzzles:
easier: https://www.jigsawplanet.com/?rc=play&pid=0bb24103d1d8
harder: https://www.jigsawplanet.com/?rc=play&pid=235d635a0a20

Part of the Outer Anthropoid Coffin of Pakherenkhonsu

This is a section from the head end of an anthropoid coffin, and we’re looking at the outer wall. The coffin belonged to a man called Pakherenkhonsu, and it was found in one of the tombs at Thebes (MMA832).

The coffin dates to the 25th Dynasty, however the tomb it was found in was constructed during the 11th Dynasty according to the museum label; wikipedia says 22nd Dynasty which is quite a contradiction! Whichever it is, it’s clear Pakherenkhonsu was re-using someone else’s tomb.

He was a Doorkeeper of the Temple of Amun, a relatively minor part of the temple hierarchy. But nonetheless he must’ve had things worth stealing – his burial was found in a disturbed condition, with his coffins in pieces.

Part of the Outer Anthropoid Coffin of Pakherenkhonsu. Pakherenkhonsu was the Doorkeeper of the Temple of Amun, he was buried in a reused Dynasty 11 tomb. From MMA 832 (Tomb of Aafenmut), Khokha, Thebes. Third Intermediate Period, Dynasty 25, c.712-664 BCE. Acc. No.: 28.3.53

This and other pieces of his coffins are in the Met Museum (this is acc. no.: 28.3.53).

See it on my photo site: https://photos.talesfromthetwolands.org/picture.php?/1497/

Jigsaw Puzzles:
easier: https://www.jigsawplanet.com/?rc=play&pid=243dcfd0e903
harder: https://www.jigsawplanet.com/?rc=play&pid=14f7b833dbb3

The Coffin of the Noble Lady Shep

This coffin belonged to the Noble Lady Shep, and dates to around the 25th or 26th Dynasty (around 2500 years ago). It’s quite a different style to the earlier 21st Dynasty coffins – where they are bright, yellow and busy this one is almost minimalist by comparison!

The scene on the left of her chest (right of the photo) has the Devourer eagerly waiting in front of Osiris. But the scene on the left of the photo shows that she was disappointed – the Noble Lady Shep has passed the Judgement and is escorted by Thoth and Maat to Osiris.

Below these two scenes are, I think, two of the Sons of Horus protecting the deceased. There’s 4 registers of pairs of figures and at the bottom on her feet are two jackals sitting on shrines. Above you can see the bottom of her broad collar necklace and the ends of her wig.

The Coffin of the Noble Lady Shep. Third Intermediate Period-Late Period, Dynasty 25-26, c. 760-525 BCE. Acc. No.: O.C.6B

I don’t think it’s known where the coffin comes from, but it’s now in the Met Museum (acc. no.: O.C.6b). I don’t have a full length photo of it, but there’s one on the museum’s website: https://www.metmuseum.org/art/collection/search/552621

See it on my photo site: https://photos.talesfromthetwolands.org/picture.php?/940

Jigsaw Puzzles:
easier: https://www.jigsawplanet.com/?rc=play&pid=031e7f7d95ba
harder: https://www.jigsawplanet.com/?rc=play&pid=1b0b5bdd195b

Detail from the Outer Coffin of Amenemopet

This is a detail from a 22nd Dynasty coffin, belonging to a man called Amenemopet. The bit in the photo is the back of the inside of the box of the outermost coffin, between the shoulders and the elbows. It’s the typical style of this period: yellow background and lots of detail.

The central mummiform figure is the deified Amenhotep I, his cartouches are just out of frame at the top. He ruled around 600 years before this coffin was made and after his death he became deified as the patron deity of Deir el Medina, and this coffin was found near there.

He’s flanked by two fecundity figures, perhaps representations of the god Hapi as I think I see his name by the point of Amenhotep I’s elbow. They wear tight-fitting garments decorated to indicate water and present platters piled high with food offerings.

There are all sorts of other symbols as well: protective vulture deities up above with shen rings for eternal protection, standards behind the Hapis which have Benu birds sitting on top of them, And many more just in this one section, the whole coffin is covered with decoration!

Detail of the Outer Coffin of Amenemopet. From Sheikh Abd el-Gurna, Western Thebes. Third Intermediate Period, early Dynasty 22, c.975-909 BCE. Acc. No.: 17.2.7a

It was found at Sheikh Abd el-Qurna, and is now in the Met Museum (acc. no.: 17.2.7a).

See it on my photo site: https://photos.talesfromthetwolands.org/picture.php?/1566 and go to the left and right for other photos of this coffin set, I have 9 in total.

To see the whole decorative scheme of the interior of the outer coffin there is this photo from the Met Museum: https://images.metmuseum.org/CRDImages/eg/original/LC-17_2_7a_EGDP026805.jpg See also their site for more information and photos: https://www.metmuseum.org/art/collection/search/544722

Jigsaw Puzzles:
easier: https://www.jigsawplanet.com/?rc=play&pid=39737cac8a40
harder: https://www.jigsawplanet.com/?rc=play&pid=26af4b10c75a

Relief Decorated Chalice

This rather beautiful blue chalice is about 15cm tall, and is made of faience. It dates to the Third Intermediate Period (between 2500 and 3000 years ago) and is said to have come from Tuna el-Gebel (it’s now in the Met in New York, acc. no. 26.7.971).

The scenes on it are really finely modelled – you can even see the feathers on the bird (next to the man carrying the calf) and the scales on the fish. I’m not sure exactly what the meaning of these scenes is, but I think they are all to do life, creation and rebirth.

I’m particularly intrigued by the man holding apart some sort of antelope-y creature and what looks a lot like a rhino (I’m sure it isn’t, but I’m not sure what it is!). It reminds me of earlier motifs of men with beasts, so perhaps it’s depicting man bringing order to chaos.

Relief Decorated Chalice. Third Intermediate Period, Dynasty 22-25, c. 945-664 BCE. Acc. No.: 26.7.971

See it on my photo site: https://photos.talesfromthetwolands.org/picture.php?/818/ and go one left to see it alongside another similar vessel.

Jigsaw Puzzles:
easier: https://www.jigsawplanet.com/?rc=play&pid=28d60a1982e5
harder: https://www.jigsawplanet.com/?rc=play&pid=300b4e15c19c

Inside of the Mummy Board of Henattawy

This is the interior of the innermost part of the coffins of a 21st Dynasty woman called Henattawy who held several titles to do with the worship of Amun, Mut and Khonsu. She was buried in tomb MMA60 in Hatshepsut’s temple at Deir el-Bahri alongside several other people.

The large figure of a goddess on this mummy board is not Nut, as I had at first assumed it would be. Instead this is the Goddess of the West, Imentet, who has the emblem of the West as her headdress. She’s appropriate here because the West is where the land of the dead is.

You can see near the top of the photo there are two ba birds, representing Henattawy, who are worshipping the goddess and presenting offerings. In return Imentet is presenting life, in the form of four large ankh signs.

I particularly like the bottom register in my photo where the goddess is being worshipped by two emblems of the West, with arms. And each has a protective cobra looped round an arm, and each cobra has an ankh sign hung from its body.

Inside of the Mummy Board of Henattawy. From MMA 60, Deir el Bahri, Thebes. Third Intermediate Period, Dynasty 21, c.990-970 BCE. Acc. No.: 25.3.6

It’s now in the Met Museum (acc. no.: 25.3.6).

See it on my photo site: https://photos.talesfromthetwolands.org/picture.php?/1528

Jigsaw Puzzles:
easier: https://www.jigsawplanet.com/?rc=play&pid=0ac6ca64ccbc
harder: https://www.jigsawplanet.com/?rc=play&pid=3a0c917f3288

Stela of Pakeshi

This stela was set up by a man called Pakeshi, who held the title God’s Father of Amun, as did his father Nespautitawi. Pakeshi stands before Osiris and the Four Sons of Horus, and the text below is a fairly standard offering formula. It’s not known where it was found.

It dates to the 25th or 26th Dynasties, somewhere around 750-525 BCE. It’s made of wood with gesso over it and painted in this pastel style that’s typical of the time period (so says the Met Museum, and I assume it’s on this basis that they date it to this period).

Despite looking nicely made it’s got one feature that looks like the artisans who made it dropped the ball – you can see in front of the face of each figure there’s a neatly outlined space where the name should go, but no-one’s come back and written the text in!

Stela of Pakeshi. Provenance unknown. Third Intermediate Period – Late Period, Dynasty 25-26, c. 750-525 BCE. Acc. No.: 90.6.30

It’s now in the Met Museum, acc. no.: 90.6.30

See it on my photo site: https://photos.talesfromthetwolands.org/picture.php?/1482/

Jigsaw Puzzles:
easier: https://www.jigsawplanet.com/?rc=play&pid=09c7a3ed2e1f
harder: https://www.jigsawplanet.com/?rc=play&pid=2629c0245248

Detail of the Innermost Coffin of Kharushere

This is a close up of the innermost coffin of a man called Kharushere, who was the Doorkeeper of the House of Amun sometime in the 22nd Dynasty (c.800 BCE). His father Bes had the same title, and his mother Tanetheretib was a Chantress of Amun as well as Mistress of the House.

This vignette is on his chest, and shows the man himself being presented to Osiris (seated) by Thoth. Behind Osiris is Isis, and to the right is another goddess (she might be Sopdet but I’m not sure as I can’t find the hieroglyphs for her name in the text).

It’s rather nicely drawn – I particularly like the detail on Kharushere’s fine transparent linen clothing. It’s a shame tho that the person who has painted the blue colour seems to’ve gone for quantity over quality, and so has gone outside the lines in all the hieroglyphs!

Detail of the Innermost Coffin of Kharushere. Kharushere was the son of Bes, Doorkeeper of the House of Amun and Tanetheretib, Mistress of the House and Chantress of Amun. From Sheikh Abd el Gurna, Thebes. Third Intermediate Period, Dynasty 22, c.825-715 BCE. Acc. No.: 86.1.33

It was found at Sheikh Abd el-Qurna by Maspero, and is now in the Met Museum, acc. no.: 86.1.33.

See it on my photo site: https://photos.talesfromthetwolands.org/picture.php?/1492 and there’s another detail from this coffin one photo to the right.

Jigsaw Puzzles:
easier: https://www.jigsawplanet.com/?rc=play&pid=01cb7b91b53d
harder: https://www.jigsawplanet.com/?rc=play&pid=06021546d044

Outer Coffin of Nany, Mistress of the House, Chantress of Amun, King’s Daughter of His Body

Coffins, particularly Third Intermediate Period coffins, are fascinating to look at and to photograph, which is why I always end up with lots of photos of details from coffins whenever I’ve been to a museum!

This is the outer coffin of a woman called Nany who was “Mistress of the House, Chantress of Amun, King’s Daughter of His Body”. She was probably the daughter of Pinedjem I (a High Priest of Amun who had kinglike status), and died during the 21st Dynasty (c. 3000 years ago).

This bit has such a lot going on it’s hard to pick out all the details. Top centre there’s a winged scarab, presumably Khepri, with a sun disk with uraei above and a djed pillar for Osiris below. To either side are Osiris himself, with Maat behind and Thoth in front.

Below is Nut, with her wing-arms outstretched holding ankhs. She’s got protective cobras, two with wings and two without hanging down from the dividing line between the registers which is also the hieroglyph for the sky. And jackals beneath her wings, with natty red scarves.

I think my favourite details (at least as I look at it this time) are the wadjet eyes with wings and little red upraised arms, worshipping the falcons beneath Khepri’s wings.

Outer Coffin of Nany, Mistress of the House, Chantress of Amun, King’s Daughter of His Body

It’s now in the Met Museum, acc. no.: 30.3.23.

See it on my photo site: https://photos.talesfromthetwolands.org/picture.php?/1555/

I’ve written about Khepri on the blog before: https://talesfromthetwolands.org/2021/05/07/scarab-beetles-creation-and-the-sun/

And about Maat: https://talesfromthetwolands.org/2020/06/01/the-way-things-ought-to-be/

And jackals: https://talesfromthetwolands.org/2020/04/21/some-sort-of-canid/

Jigsaw Puzzles:
easier: https://www.jigsawplanet.com/?rc=play&pid=21107a9bdfe0
harder: https://www.jigsawplanet.com/?rc=play&pid=0ee6cd400056

Image of Nut in the Sarcophagus of Merenptah/Psusennes I

Many coffins and sarcophagi have images of the goddess Nut on the inside of the upper lid – the sky stretching herself protectively over the deceased. This rather fine example is carved in high raised relief inside a granite sarcophagus.

Around and on the goddess are texts and scenes carved in the more usual sunk relief. I particularly like the way she is wearing a close-fitting garment which is covered in stars.

The sarcophagus was found in Tanis (in the Egyptian Delta region) in the intact tomb of the 21st Dynasty king Psusennes I, who died in 994 BCE. But that’s not where it was originally intended for – it started out as the sarcophagus of Pharaoh Merenptah, some 200 years earlier!

Image of Nut in the Sarcophagus of Merenptah/Psusennes I. Found in the tomb of Psusennes I at Tanis. Originally made in the New Kingdom, Dynasty 19, reign of Merenptah, c. 1212-1202 BCE. Re-used in the Third Intermediate Period, Dynasty 21, reign of Psusennes, c. 1045-994 BCE. Acc. No.: JE87297

In 2016 when I visited it was in the Egyptian Museum in Cairo, acc. no.: JE87297.

See it on my photo site: https://photos.talesfromthetwolands.org/picture.php?/669/

Jigsaw puzzles:
easier: https://www.jigsawplanet.com/?rc=play&pid=10bb9b53e8d6
harder: https://www.jigsawplanet.com/?rc=play&pid=1f317ffb407e