Egyptian coffins stand out in museums’ collections for their lively and radiant appearance. As an involucre of the mummy, coffins played a key-role by protecting the body and at the same time, integrating the deceased in the afterlife. The paramount importance of these objects and their purpose is detected in the ways they changed through time. For more than three thousand years, coffins and tombs had been designed to assure in the most efficient way possible a successful outcome for the difficult transition to the afterlife.
This book examines twelve non-royal tombs found relatively intact, from the plains of Saqqara to the sacred hills of Thebes. These almost undisturbed burial sites managed to escape ancient looters and became adventurous events of the Egyptian archaeology. These discoveries are described from the Mariette’s exploration of the Mastaba of Ti in Saqqara to Schiaparelli’s discovery of the Tomb of Kha and Merit in Deir el-Medina.
Each one of these sites unveil before our eyes a time capsule, where coffins and tombs were designed together as part of a social, political, and religious order. From the Pre-dynastic times to the decline of the New Kingdom, this book explores each site revealing the interconnection between mummification practices, coffin decoration, burial equipment, tomb decoration and ritual landscapes. Through this analysis, the author aims to point out how the design of coffins changed through time in order to empower the deceased with different visions of immortality. By doing so, the study of coffins reveal a silent revolution which managed to open to the common men and women horizons of divinity previously reserved to the royal sphere. Coffins thus show us how identity was forged to create an immortal and divine self.