Coffin Lid of the Mummy of Takait, Priestess of Amun-Re

Egypt, New Kingdom, Nineteenth Dynasty (?)
13th century BC

Wood with plaster and paint
Height 170 cm



To ensure life after death, numerous arrangements had to be made in advance. Of especial importance were the preparation and mummification of the body. This elaborate procedure took seventy days. The individual tasks—from removing the body’s internal organs and embalming it to performing the burial—were carried out by various persons and professions, enjoying widely varying degrees of social status and prestige. The mummified body was often laid within multiple nested coffins, all of them shaped like a human being, a procedure that was also observed in the case of Takait, the priestess of the supreme god, Amun-Re. Sometimes these wooden coffins were placed in a rectangular stone sarcophagus. Only then was the mummy thought to be adequately protected against destruction.

Over the body, the kneeling sky goddess Nut spreads out her winged arms. In the inscription that runs vertically down her legs, Takait addresses the goddess as her mother and asks to be transported to the polar stars so that she may attain eternal life. While on the outermost wooden coffin the face was still painted an earthly shade of yellow, Takait appears on the innermost layer of the coffin lid with the golden skin of the gods. Here she also stands directly opposite the gods, as shown in the six images beneath the winged figure of Nut.