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Wooden Coffin of Kayt

Date: 1985–1940 B.C.
Medium: wood (sycomore), paint
Dimensions: 48 x 187 x 46 cm (18 7/8 x 73 5/8 x 18 1/8 in.)
Classification: tomb equipment
Inventory Number: 92.1-E
Department: Egyptian Art

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Wooden Coffin of Kayt

The wooden box coffin of the noble woman Kayt displayed here was a typical funerary object in the Middle Kingdom. According to the ancient Egyptians the coffin placed in the burial chamber served as a dwelling place for the deceased in the next world but it also assumed certain functions of a place of mortuary cult. The so-called false door in the tomb chapel was the place of giving and receiving funerary offerings during the rituals. On the box coffin of Kayt this important cultic location is symbolised by the udjat eyes, the so-called eye panel, which was attributed magic power and is placed at the head part of the coffin’s left/east longer side. Udjat eyes also symbolise the regaining of vision essential for well-being in the afterlife: every dawn, “glancing out” into the outer world through this panel, the mummified dead person lying on her left side was able to catch sight of the rising Sun-god. The red paint on the coffin’s external surface provided magical protection against possible attacks by evil forces.