Mummy of Katebet, c. 1300-1280 BC
Wood, sycamore fig wood, stone, plaster, linen, human tissue, human hair, gold
165 (length) cm
Thebes (modern Luxor), Egypt

 

Discovered in a beautifully-painted coffin in a tomb on the west bank of the Nile at Thebes, this is the mummy of an elderly woman named Katebet, who was a chantress of the powerful ancient Egyptian god Amun. In life, Katebet would have sung and performed during temple rituals. Her body was preserved with a gilded funerary mask complete with wooden arms and hands wearing real jewelry. Believing that the dead body should be preserved in order for the person to enter the afterlife, ancient Egyptians mummified bodies and surrounded them with objects to aid and protect them on their perilous journey. The winged figure of Nut and the dog-like figure of Anubis, which rest on Katebet’s breast and legs, were meant to offer protection in the afterlife. The stone Shabti figure atop her knees would have acted as her servant in the next world. Non-invasive CT scanning technology has allowed curators to examine the mummified body beneath the layers of linen and gain more insights into the mummification process used, as well as Katebet’s health at the time of her death.

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