Egyptian Mummies and the Afterlife

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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 headdress and false beard, both representing royalty. Irethorrou’s ‘governmental’ position also reflects the design of his coffin, a lot more simple as compared to that of a pharaoh. Although this coffin may not be specially decorated, it still possesses the key characteristics of an Egyptian coffin.

Ancient Egyptians obviously regarded the coffin as more than just a case for their dead. Adorned with hieroglyphics and symbols, they utilized coffins for protection, both physically and spiritually. They intertwined its practical function with its religious importance because of their strong belief in the afterlife. Egyptians believed that even after death, the body must be preserved and well-kept for its ‘new life.’ In order to maintain the body, they placed it in a coffin and inscribed spells and symbols that would protect it from any physical or spiritual harm. The coffin itself had to be well-built. The coffin of Irethorrou is made of a very strong kind of wood that fits his status as a leader in Egyptian religion as a priest. With all these details and special customs that ancient Egyptians had for preparing the dead for new life, it’s evident that their faith in their religion was very strong. This shows just how focal...
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