Egyptian Mummies and the Afterlife

1051 WordsJul 28, 20105 Pages
Ancient Egyptians had a strong belief in preserving the body for the afterlife in hopes of achieving immortality. Part of this preservation was to protect and identify the body by painting or carving pictures, hieroglyphics, and symbols on the coffin. One very good example of this is represented by the ‘Mummy of Irethorrou in Coffin.’ This coffin, made of wood with polychrome, is adorned with hieroglyphics, symbols, and a portrait of the Egyptian priest. It was found in a cemetery in Akhmim, and dates back circa 500 BCE. The inside of the coffin, where the mummy lays, also has a carved outline of Irethorrou’s profile standing on some sort of platform. The portrait of the priest is painted with traditional Egyptian accessories such as, a…show more content…
Without any identification, ancient Egyptians believed that the ka would continue wandering the world, unable to go back to its body to reach eternal life. Another portrait of Irethorrou in full profile can also be found inside the coffin, where the mummy lays. This furthers the Egyptians assurance that the ka would be able to return to the body. Aside from functioning as recognition of a body, these representations of the dead also provided an identity in the afterlife. The portrait of Irethorrou also depicts the blunt, traditional non-expressive representation that Egyptian artists used when creating a work of art dedicated to those with higher status. Irethorrou’s coffin portrayal looks straight forward with a blank expression. His limbs cannot be seen, but the silhouette of the entire coffin gives an idea of where his arms and legs should be. This serious appearance was very important to Egyptians when illustrating a person of royalty, just like the headdress and false beard. It was a characteristic that was strictly limited to authoritative figures, and not used to depict the general population. Representing leaders, or those with higher status, as serious was very important to Egyptians because it illustrates someone who would ensure stability. The coffin of Irethorrou is a very good example of traditional Egyptian art because it shows how important religion and the afterlife was to the Egyptians. Aside from committing to their religion,
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