Thursday, October 31, 2013

The Ebony Caskets of Sit Hathor Yunet

Fig. 1 - Ebony boxes from the tomb of Sit Hathor Yunet
     Sit Hathor Yunet had in her tomb two caskets that were painstakingly restored by Brunton and Mace at the Metropolitan Museum.

     The wood box on the left in figure 1 had decayed into a black mass by the time archaeologists found the tomb, but it was determined that the original wood was likely Sudanese Ebony. The exterior is decorated on its sides with six "djed" columns alternating with five false doors framed by thin veneers of ivory. The ends were decorated with four "djed" columns and three false doors.

Fig. 2 - alabaster oil pots from one of the Princesses' caskets
     The lid of this casket was partially curved and was decorated with four heads of Hathor separated by hieroglyphic inscriptions containing the names of Amenemhat III (From left to right: "Son of Ra of his body, Amenemhat", "King of Upper and Lower Egypt, Men-maat-ra" and "Horus of Gold, Great of Souls" (the "Ba" that the Egyptians believed was a part of every person). The interior of this object probably was divided into compartments and may have had trays and / or drawers, but an exact reconstruction is impossible to make.

     The casket on the right, which like the first casket had a semi-curved lid and was made of Sudanese Ebony, originally held eight alabaster jars of oils (see figure 2). A "kohl" pot (the small, squat, black obsidian pot in figure 2) was also found in the tomb. It would have contained an eye make-up that was applied with a "kohl stick".

Photos copyright 2013 by John Freed

1 comment:

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