The Small Anthropoid Coffins of Tutankhamun

Small Anthropoid Coffins

These anthropoid coffins never contained any mummified bodies. Their function was to contain heirlooms [An heirloom is defined as any object or a personal property which is passed down through a family from generation to generation]. Inside the coffins two items belonging to Tutankhamun’s ancestors were found: a lock of hair of his grandmother Queen Ti and a small statuette belonging to Amenhotep III.

 Other objects bearing the names of members of Tutankhamun’s family were also found in his tomb such as two ivory plaques belonging to Mrytaton and Meketaton. It is said that these heirlooms might be a way of proving his royal blood to confirm his right to ascend the throne of Egypt, as his grandparents were royalties. Four anthropoid coffins were found fitting inside each other diminishing in size. They were found in the Treasury.

Three Small Anthropoid Coffins of Tutankhamun

1. The Outermost Coffin:

It is made out of wood covered with black resin and some parts are gilded. It takes the facial features of king Tutankhamun. He is represented wearing the khat headdress, a broad collar and he is represented in the Osiride form with his hands crossed upon his chest, he used to hold the crook and flail but they are now missing.

Beneath the hands, there is a representation of Nekhbet holding the Shen sign of eternity. The bandages are depicted as a horizontal band of inscriptions and 4 vertical ones covering the coffin. These inscriptions contain a prayer or a plea from the king asking goddess (Nut) goddess of the sky for her protection and asking to be able to turn him into the imperishable stars (the never-setting circumpolar stars) as a sign of resurrection so he will be able to live forever and never dies.

At the bottom of his feet there is a representation of goddess (ISIS) on the nbw sign for his protection. The outer sides of the coffin are decorated with a representation of the 4 sons of Horus.

2. The 2nd Coffin (the one inside the outermost):

It is made out of wood covered with gold leaf and decorated with the rishi decoration. The king is represented wearing the Nemes headdress, a broad collar, in the Osiride form with his hands crossed on his chest which used to hold the crook and flail but they are now missing. Beneath his hands we can see the representation of the vulture and the cobra (Nekhbet and Wadjet) Wadjet here is represented as a bird with 2 wings with the head of the Cobra.

In the middle of the coffin there is a line of inscriptions giving the name and titles of Tutankhamun.

3.  The 3rd Coffin (found inside the 2nd one):

It is made completely out of wood. Inside this one a small figure made out of pure gold belonging to king (Amenhotep III) was found. He was represented squatting and wearing the Khepresh crown. This figure was found within a bundle of linen and most probably it used to be hung from a necklace. It is displayed in the secured room with the coffins and mask of Tutankhamun. [There were no inscriptions on the statuette bearing the name of Amenhotep III but it had been suggested that it belongs to him judging from the facial features]

4. The Innermost Coffin:

This is the smallest one and it was found inside the 3rd coffin. It is made out of wood also and it used to contain the lock of hair of Tutankhamun’s grandmother (Queen Ti), which is now displayed next to the coffin in a small showcase. The inscriptions on this coffin mention the names and titles of (Queen Ti). Recent investigations (2010) confirmed the parental linkage of Tutankhamun with Ti after DNA analysis of this lock of hair.

Coffins of Tutankhamun Children

Coffins of Tutankhamun Children

Other small anthropoid coffins were found in the tomb of Tutankhamun, they contained the mummies of the offspring (babies) of Tutankhamun and his wife Ankhesenamen. These babies died before they were born i.e. they were still fetuses [One was 6 months gestation (35 cm long) and the other was 7 months gestation (45 cm long)]. They were mummified, complete with their little cartonnage masks and were put inside these anthropoid coffins. They are now kept at The Museum of El-Kasr El-Aini Hospital and investigations are being undergone to confirm their link with the Tutankhamun family line.

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