Wig Belonging to Nany

This is a 3,000 year old wig, which was found inside the coffin of a woman called Nany. She held the title “King’s Daughter of His Body”, and Egyptologists think her father was Pinedjem I (a High Priest of Amun who used the title “King” during the 21st Dynasty).

The wig is (probably) made of human hair, and then coated in beeswax. You can see that it’s made of a collection of braids which are gathered together along the central parting and would’ve fallen to either side of the head, the longest braid is 25cm long.

Egyptian art shows Egyptians with black hair, yet this wig is brown. I’m not sure why that is (and couldn’t find an answer), it might be that the colour choice in art is more conventional than realistic or it might be that this wig has faded over time.

It wasn’t intended to cover up baldness, but instead seems to be a fashion accessory – if you look closely at 3D depictions of women on coffins or as statues then you will often see the woman’s real hair depicted as poking out along the forehead from under her wig.

Wig Belonging to Nany. From TT358 in Deir el Bahri, Thebes. Third Intermediate Period, Dynasty 21, reign of Psusennes I, c.1040-992 BCE. Acc. No.: 30.3.35

It was found in TT358 at Deir el Bahri, and is now in the Met Museum, acc. no.: 30.3.35

See it on my photo site: https://photos.talesfromthetwolands.org/picture.php?/1552/category/6

Jigsaw Puzzles:
easier: https://www.jigsawplanet.com/?rc=play&pid=3c73e7e564eb
harder: https://www.jigsawplanet.com/?rc=play&pid=03cbf164b279

Inner Coffin of Tabakenkhonsu

This is the inner coffin of a woman called Tabakenkhonsu who lived and died during the 25th Dynasty around 2600 years ago. She was buried in the temple of Hatshepsut at Deir el Bahri, and I shared a photo of her bead shroud a few weeks ago.

She was buried in 3 coffins and you can see parts of them all in this photo. The outer one was rectangular and the other two are person shaped – you can see the lower part of the outer one with bedpost like corners at the far end, as well as the lower part of the middle one.

The inner one is displayed here with the lid as well as the base. On the foot end is a very typical decoration for this period – the deceased is shown as a mummy being carried by the Apis Bull towards the tomb.

Inner Coffin of Tabakenkhonsu. From the pit in the Hypostyle Hall of the Hathor Shrine, Temple of Hatshepsut, Deir el Bahri, Thebes. Third Intermediate Period, Dynasty 25, c.680-670 BCE. Acc. No.: 96.4.3

These coffins were found at Deir el Bahri and are now in the Met Museum, acc. no. 96.4.3.

See it on my photo site: https://photos.talesfromthetwolands.org/picture.php?/1538/category/6

Jigsaw Puzzles:
easier: https://www.jigsawplanet.com/?rc=play&pid=19dc43b9be31
harder: https://www.jigsawplanet.com/?rc=play&pid=0e8bc2abae05

Model Tambourine Showing the Barque of Bastet

This little piece, only a little over 9 inches wide, is a model tambourine made of faience. This sort of object was given as an offering to Bastet at festivals and the scene visible on this side shows Bastet’s sacred boat sailing on her sacred lake at one of these festivals.

You can see quite a few details on the boat – at the rear is a gazelle head decorating the prow. Next to this are a pair of large oars like you see on model boats, and a little (hawk headed?) chap who may be tending them or may be gazing at the central shrine.

The shrine in the centre contains another sort of a shrine, a naos shrine. On the side of that (or inside, I’m not sure which) is presumably Bastet or her statue flanked by two winged protective beings. To the right is another figure, kneeling and possibly holding a flagpole.

Then at the front are two standards. One of this is a barque sphinx, or “sib” – I’ve shared a picture of a real example of these before: https://talesfromthetwolands.org/2022/08/19/barque-sphinx/. And at the very front is another decoration, which I can’t quite make out.

Model Tambourine Showing the Barque of Bastet. Provenance unknown. Third Intermediate Period, c. 1070-712 BCE. Acc. No.: 17.194.2399

The piece dates to the Third Intermediate Period, around 2500-3000 years ago. It’s not known where it was found, but it’s now in the Met Museum with accession number: 17.194.2399.

See it on my photo site: https://photos.talesfromthetwolands.org/picture.php?/1476/category/6

Jigsaw Puzzles:
easier: https://www.jigsawplanet.com/?rc=play&pid=0d523616f2b0
harder: https://www.jigsawplanet.com/?rc=play&pid=2575c873b050

Detail of the Outer Coffin of Amenemopet

This is another detail from the outer coffin of a man called Amenemopet who lived during the 22nd Dynasty (around 3000 years ago), I shared a photo of the interior a few months ago and this is the outside of the foot portion of the coffin.

I love looking at and taking photos of coffins from this era, because they are so covered in motifs and decorative elements – every time you look at an object you see something you’d not seen before!

The central panel of this piece is heavy on protective snake motifs, just in this photo alone there are three of them. And between them are solar and Osirian images, with more protective beings (and more snakes).

The top panel shows the scarab beetle, Khepri, pushing the sun up (protected by paired snakes) from what looks awfully like a palace facade motif. He’s flanked by two mummiform jackal headed beings, kneeling on the ground and each holding a crook and flail.

Below is an analogous scene with different participants. The sun disc and flanking snakes sits on top of a tyet knot, the symbol of the goddess Isis, and the mummiform beings are human headed and seated on chairs.

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

And there’s loads more, if you go to my photo site you can look at a larger version using the drop menu on the top right of the page and see more of the details to the left & the right. The coffin itself is in the Met Museum, acc. no.: 17.2.7a.

See it on my photo site: https://photos.talesfromthetwolands.org/picture.php?/1567/category/6

Jigsaw Puzzles:
easier: https://www.jigsawplanet.com/?rc=play&pid=2f6fac7de13f
harder: https://www.jigsawplanet.com/?rc=play&pid=286eb8bf813f

Bead Shroud of Tabakenkhonsu

800 years after Hatshepsut built her temple at Deir el Bahri it was still in use as a temple, and also served as the final resting place for the Priests of Montu and their families. Tabakenkhonsu was the daughter of one of these priests and was probably married to another.

Her burial was found intact in 1894-5 by the Egypt Exploration Fund’s excavation and given to the Met Museum (acc. no.: 96.4.5) in exchange for their earlier funding. This photo is a detail of the bead shroud that was sewn onto the outer wrapping of her mummy inside her coffins.

The beads are made of faience, a manufactured ceramic which was used a lot by the ancient Egyptians, and they are strung together to make a lattice. Additional decoration is worked into the basic lattice, like the Four Sons of Horus protecting her abdomen and internal organs.

You can also see at the top of the photo a winged scarab, sitting over her heart like a scarab amulet would. I’m not sure (as the museum website doesn’t discuss her mummy) whether or not she would also have had amulets inside her wrappings or if this bead net replaced those.

Bead Shroud of Tabakenkhonsu. From the pit in the Hypostyle Hall of the Hathor Shrine at the Temple of Hatshepsut, Deir el Bahri. Third Intermediate Period, Dynasty 25, c. 680-670 BCE. Acc. No.: 96.4.5

See it on my photo site: https://photos.talesfromthetwolands.org/picture.php?/1488/category/6

I’ve previously shared a photo of a mummy board belonging to Henattawy which has a representation of a bead net on it: https://talesfromthetwolands.org/2022/06/24/mummy-board-of-henettawy/

Jigsaw Puzzles:
easier: https://www.jigsawplanet.com/?rc=play&pid=159e6ec4c569
harder: https://www.jigsawplanet.com/?rc=play&pid=1d15c2d405aa

Head of the Goddess Mut

This small piece (a little over 6 inches high) represents the goddess Mut. It’s probably an attachment for something like a piece of furniture – perhaps to be carried on procession or used during a ritual.

The goddess is represented wearing the double crown, which is a symbol of a unified Egypt – it has the shape of both the Red Crown of Lower Egypt and the White Crown of Upper Egypt. Once upon a time those elements of the crown were gilded (as the face still is).

Even though they were gilded the two colours of the crown were still indicated – the White Crown portion (that looks like a bowling pin) was covered in a pale mix of gold & electrum, and the Red Crown portion was covered in pure gold which the Egyptians associated with red.

Even though it’s a bit cross-eyed it’s a lovely little piece and must’ve been very eye-catching when shiny and new. It’s not known where it was found, but it dates to the Third Intermediate Period and is now in the Met Museum (acc. no.: 26.7.1427).

Head of the Goddess Mut. Provenance unknown. Third Intermediate Period, c.1070-664 BCE. Acc. No.: 26.7.1427

See it on my photo site: https://photos.talesfromthetwolands.org/picture.php?/1596/category/6

Jigsaw Puzzles:
easier: https://www.jigsawplanet.com/?rc=play&pid=09ebc3a2a502
harder: https://www.jigsawplanet.com/?rc=play&pid=298ff0748b50

“The Temple of Amun at Medinet Habu: Birth Place and Burial Place of the Primordial Deities” Lucia Gahlin

At the beginning of July Lucia Gahlin visited the Essex Egyptology Group to talk about the Small Temple at the site of Medinet Habu which was actually more important to the ancient Egyptians than the big temple of Ramesses III that we go to visit as modern tourists. Click here to see my write up of this talk on my sister blog, Other People’s Tales.

Inner Coffin of Ankhshepenwepet

This is a close up of the front of the coffin of a woman called Ankhshepenwepet who lived during the second half of the 25th Dynasty, around 2500 years ago. She was buried in the temple grounds of Hatshepsut’s temple at Deir el Bahri, and her tomb was robbed in antiquity.

Around the middle you can see the deceased being led from the far right of the photo towards several divine beings. Thoth leads Ankhshepenwepet away from the weighing of the heart, which you can just see around the right hand side of the coffin as you look at it.

The queue of beings is headed by Osiris with Isis behind him, but I think most of them are the judges from the Hall of the Two Maats. These are the divine beings to whom the negative confessions are addressed as the deceased demonstrates they are worthy to enter the afterlife.

Inner Coffin of Ankhshepenwepet. She was buried in Hatshepsut’s temple at Deir el Bahri. From MMA56, Deir el Bahri, Thebes. Third Intermediate Period, second half of Dynasty 25, 690-656 BCE. Acc. No.: 25.3.202

The coffin is now in the Met Museum, acc. no.: 25.3.202.

See it on my photo site: https://photos.talesfromthetwolands.org/picture.php?/1506/category/6

Jigsaw Puzzles:
easier: https://www.jigsawplanet.com/?rc=play&pid=0b369df1eb39
harder: https://www.jigsawplanet.com/?rc=play&pid=2c9be89548d0

Mummy Board of Henettawy

This is the innermost part of the coffin set of a woman called Henettawy, who was a Chantress of Amun-Ra during the late 21st Dynasty (so about 3000 years ago in the Third Intermediate Period). It’s her mummy board, which sat on top of her mummy inside the inner coffin.

I took this photo of the lower half of it because I found the decoration quite striking particularly in juxtaposition with her other two coffins. They are elaborately decorated with gods etc, as is the top of the mummy board, but the bottom is simple, restrained and elegant.

The red background is represents a red cloth wrapping around the mummy, and over it is depicted a bead net dress. A couple of such dresses have survived (and been restrung), one of which is in the Petrie Museum (see https://www.ucl.ac.uk/culture/petrie-museum/bead-net-dress).

Mummy Board 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.: 25.3.184

It is now in the Met Museum, acc. no.: 25.3.184.

See it on my photo site: https://photos.talesfromthetwolands.org/picture.php?/1546/

I also have a photo of all three parts of the set: https://photos.talesfromthetwolands.org/picture.php?/1551/ and if you go right there are several more photos of the coffins.

Jigsaw Puzzles:
easier: https://www.jigsawplanet.com/?rc=play&pid=1fb3a9efb745
harder: https://www.jigsawplanet.com/?rc=play&pid=1f7ba5be09de

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