Art/ Collection/ Art Object

Outer Coffin of the Singer of Amun-Re, Henettawy

Third Intermediate Period
late Dynasty 21
ca. 1000–945 B.C.
From Egypt, Upper Egypt, Thebes, Deir el-Bahri, Tomb of Henettawy F (MMA 59), MMA excavations, 1923–24
Wood, gesso, paint, varnish
L. 203 cm (79 15/16 in)
Credit Line:
Rogers Fund, 1925
Accession Number:
25.3.182a, b
On view at The Met Fifth Avenue in Gallery 126
The Mistress of the House, Singer of Amun-Re, Henettawy died at the young age of twenty-one. She was buried in a plundered tomb, which had originally been the resting place of Minmose, an official of Hatshepsut. The burial was a modest one, including a set of coffins and personal jewelry. Henettawy's body was not embalmed but simply wrapped in layers of linen bandages.
Aside from her rather simple personal jewelry, Henettawy's main burial equipment consisted of two splendid coffins (25.3.182a, b; 25.3.183a, b) and a mummy board (25.3.184), fitting one into the other like parts of a Russian doll. Both coffins and the innermost lid are shaped like wrapped mummies with elaborate masks fastened over the heads.

The outer coffin lid, intended to resemble a wrapped mummy, wears an elaborate pectoral in the shape of a small shrine within which are two winged wedjat eyes, with suspended uraeus cobras holding ankhs. Below these, Horus falcons flank a central scarab that pushes a sun disk upward, an image of the rising sun and of rebirth. The composition is similar to the Middle Kingdom pectoral of SitHathoryunet (16.1.3). At the sides of this pectoral are figures of Anubis, god of mummification, represented as a jackal wearing the crowns of Upper and Lower Egypt and holding empowering scepters.

Beneath the protective wings of Nut, vertical and horizontal yellow bands, representing gold, cover the white mummy wrapping. The hieroglyphs on the center band read: "Recitation by the Osiris, housemistress and chantress of Amun-Re, king of the gods, Henettawy, justified, who says: 'O my mother Nut! Spread your wings over my face and cause me to be like the imperishable stars, like the unwearying stars, without dying a second time in necropolis!'" In the rectangular spaces between the bands, Henettawy in a rich golden garment shakes a sistrum and prays to Osiris (the two uppermost scenes), the four sons of Horus stand behind altars with offerings (middle scenes), and Anubis, god of the cemetery and mummification, holds empowering scepters in the bottom scenes. At the feet, the goddesses Isis (viewers left) and Nephthys (viewers right) mourn Hennetawy's death.
Museum excavations 1923–24. Acquired by the Museum in the division of finds, 1925.

Winlock, Herbert E. 1924. "The Egyptian Expedition 1923–1924: The Museum's Excavations at Thebes." In The Metropolitan Museum of Art Bulletin, vol. 19, no. 12 (December, Supplement), p. 22-25, figs. 22 & 25.

Lythgoe, Albert M. 1924. "The Egyptian Expedition 1923–1924." In The Metropolitan Museum of Art Bulletin, vol. 19, no. 12 (December, Supplement), p. 6, pp. 21-22.

Dorman, Peter F., Prudence Harper, and Holly Pittman 1987. Egypt and the Ancient Near East in The Metropolitan Museum of Art. New York: Metropolitan Museum of Art, pp. 74-75.

Jansen-Winkeln, Karl 2007. Inschriften der Spätzeit, Teil I: Die 21. Dynastie. Wiesbaden: Harrassowitz Verlag, p. 245, cat. 11.113.

Aston, David 2009. Burial Assemblages of Dynasty 21–25: Chronology – Typology – Developments. Contributions to the chronology of the Eastern Mediterranean, vol. 21, Denkschriften der Gesamtakademie, 56. Vienna: Verlag der Österreichischen Akademie der Wissenschaften, p. 198.

Metropolitan Museum of Art 2012. The Metropolitan Museum of Art Guide. New Haven, CT: Yale University Press, p. 54.

Metropolitan Museum of Art 2012. The Metropolitan Museum of Art Guide. New York and New Haven, Connecticut: Yale University Press, p. 54.

Related Objects

Coffin Set of the Singer of Amun-Re, Henettawy

Date: ca. 1000–945 B.C. Medium: Wood, gesso, paint, varnish Accession: 25.3.182–.184-related On view in:Gallery 126

Mummy Board of Henettawy (C), Probable Sister-Wife of High Priest of Amun Smendes

Date: ca. 990–970 B.C. Medium: Wood, gesso, paint Accession: 25.3.6 On view in:Gallery 126

Coffin of Irtirutja

Date: 332–250 B.C. Medium: Plastered, painted, and gilded wood Accession: 86.1.52a, b On view in:Gallery 133

Coffin of Isetirdis

Date: 664–525 B.C. Medium: Wood, gesso, paint Accession: 30.3.44a, b On view in:Gallery 130

Footboard of Pakherenkhonsu

Date: ca. 712–664 B.C. Medium: Wood, gesso, paint Accession: 28.3.54 On view in:Gallery 126