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Sarcophagus of Kamwese Called for Short Kami

Anthropoid and mummiform coffins began to replace the traditional box-shaped coffin sometime during Dynasty XII. The box, however, was not completely abandoned in the coming years; rather, it underwent a number of changes. One such transformation was a coffin shaped like a shrine placed on sledge runners. This coffin functioned as an outer box in which was placed an anthropoid or mummiform coffin. The shrine shape suggested that the deceased had attained something of divine status as a member of the "blessed dead." The sledge runners may have been useful in actually hauling the coffin to the tomb. Alternatively, they may have been merely symbolic, suggesting that the deceased, now associated with Osiris or the resting sun at night, is hauled across the night sky of the underworld in his shrine.

The decoration on this coffin parallels that seen on many coffins of Dynasty XVIII. On each long side is a wadjet-eye, symbolizing completeness and well-being, above a shrine. Following the shrine is a series of deities. These include the Four Sons of Horus, two to a side. Paired with them are the jackal-headed Anubis, guardian of the necropolis, and the ibis-headed Thoth, associated with the power of spells against the evils of the underworld. On each short end can be seen a goddess, Isis on the foot end and Nephthys at the head; both are protectors of the god Osiris. Through this decoration, the deceased is identified with Osiris and protected by a ring of deities. The texts surrounding the figures are invocations for funerary benefits on behalf of the deceased.


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