Outer Coffin Lid of Iawttayesheret



Outer Coffin Lid of Iawttayesheret




722-655 BC


Late Period, Dynasty 25


Wood, gesso, pigment
75 3/16 x 26 x 26 3/16 in. (191 x 66 x 66.5 cm)

Object Number

1999.001.008 B


This outer coffin lid is part of a lovely nested set of coffins belonged to a woman named Iawttayesheret, also call Tayesheret. The daughter of Padikhnum and Tadiaset, Iawttayesheret was the great follower of the Divine Adoratrice of Amun, and almost certainly resided in Thebes. Both her titles and the high quality of her coffins indicate that Iawttayesheret was a woman of some stature.

The Nubian kings of the Twenty-fifth Dynasty reunited Egypt following the political upheaval of the Third Intermediate Period. In order to reinforce their rule, they installed female members of the royal family in the office of the Divine Adoratrice of Amun, the highest position in the temple of the national deity. These women enjoyed unprecedented power and independence and surrounded themselves with men and women of stature and wealth. Iawttayesheret, the owner of this coffin, belonged to this elite group as one of the leaders of the retinue of the Divine Adoratrice.

In addition to restoring political order to Egypt, the Nubian kings instigated an artistic renaissance, evoking in particular the legacy of the Old Kingdom. Many members of the Theban aristocracy built enormous, skillfully decorated tombs around the temple of Hatshepsut at Deir el-Bahri, often containing scenes taken directly from earlier sources. Coffins for high-status burials during this period displayed a rather more austere style than those of the preceding Third Intermediate Period and adopted sculptural features such as a wide back pillar and pedestal. Nested sets of coffins continued to be used, although the outer case was typically of rectangular form, with a vaulted lid and posts at each corner.

The massive outer coffin is made of long planks with minimal embellishment, in order to highlight the surface of the wood. The wig, the floral broad collar, and a single column of text comprise the only decoration. As on the inner coffin, the wig is surmounted by a vulture headdress and fillet. A solar disk between a pair of crowned uraei appears on the crown of the head. The inscription records the name, titles, and filiation of the deceased. On the base of the coffin, there is no decoration other than a line of text around the circumference. In several places, mud plaster was applied to mask knots in the wood or joins between boards. The spare, elegant figure of the goddess of the west assumes her customary place on the bottom of the case.

It seems that Iawttayesheret owned a three-part nested set of coffins. In addition to the two cases at the Carlos, fragments of her outer coffin have been located at the Medelhausmuseet in Stockholm. The fragments are from the cornerpost of the outermost coffin, indicating that it was of the vaulted, rectangular variety popular during the Twenty-fifth Dynasty.

Credit Line

Charlotte Lichirie Collection of Egyptian Art


MCCM Permanent Collection Gallery, 2001 - Present
Peter Lacovara, "The New Galleries of Egyptian and Near Eastern Art at the Michael C. Carlos Museum," Minerva 12 (2001), 9-16.|
Peter Lacovara, Sue D'Auria, and Therese O'Gorman, "New Life for the Dead," Archaeology 54 (2001): 22-27.|
Peter Lacovara and Betsy Teasley Trope, The Realm of Osiris (Atlanta: Michael C. Carlos Museum, 2001), 53-55.|
Peter Lacovara, "Coffins Highlight the New Galleries of Egyptian & Nubian Art at the Michael C. Carlos Museum, Atlanta," KMT 13, no. 3 (2002): 45-52.


© Michael C. Carlos Museum, Emory University. Photo by Bruce M. White, 2006.
This image is provided by the Michael C. Carlos Museum of Emory University, who retains all rights in it. This image is made available for limited non-commercial, educational, and personal use only, or for fair use as defined by United States law. For all other uses, please contact the Michael C. Carlos Museum Office of Collections Services at +1(404) 727-4282 or mccm.collections.services@emory.edu. Users must cite the author and source of the image as they would material from any printed work, but not in any way that implies endorsement of the user or the user's use of the image. Users may not remove any copyright, trademark, or other proprietary notices, including without limitation attribution information, credits, and copyright notices that have been placed on or near the image by the Museum. The Museum assumes no responsibility for royalties or fees claimed by the artist or third parties. The User agrees to indemnify and hold harmless Emory University, its Michael C. Carlos Museum, its agents, employees, faculty members, students and trustees from and against any and all claims, losses, actions, damages, expenses, and all other liabilities, including but not limited to attorney’s fees, directly or indirectly arising out of or resulting from its use of photographic images for which permission is granted hereunder.

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“Outer Coffin Lid of Iawttayesheret,” Michael C. Carlos Museum Collections Online, accessed September 18, 2020, http://carlos.digitalscholarship.emory.edu/items/show/7577.

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