Are these colors as they would have originally appeared?
These colors are in very good balance, and show a close palette to how they originally would have appeared. However, time and the elements have certainly darkened the colors a little. And, the addition of beeswax, often used by the artisans to preserve the painting pigments, would also have darkened the colors over time.
As you move around the Egyptian galleries you'll see many reliefs and sculptures that originally were painted in bright colors and on some the faintest trace of pigment still appears. It's nice to imagine how colorful and bright the temples and tombs used to be.
Exactly where is the collar that is discussed in discription below?
The collar you're referring to is like a broad necklace. The area from Nespanetjernepere's neck to the top of the winged-ram deity, underneath the wig, is all the wesekh collar.
Okay, thank you!
Could you tell me the stories or meaning of the images on it?
The Cartonnage of Nespanetjerenpere served to identify, protect, and transform the priest assisting in his journey from the world of the living into the world of the dead.
Some of the deities represented are Anubis the jackal-headed god of mummification and the journey to the afterlife; Thoth the ibis-headed god of wisdom and literacy; Horus the falcon-headed god connected to the living pharaoh; Re the falcon-headed sun god; Khnum the ram-headed creator god (a winged Khnum is spread across the chest of the container protecting the heart and soul of the deceased).
I was wondering the name of some of these gods in this picture.
Anubis is one who is easy to recognize, he has the head of a jackal. He's the god of mummification and the journey to the underworld. The man with the head of an ibis is Thoth, he is the god of wisdom, knowledge, and writing. In your photo, you can see the feet of a winged, ram-headed god spread across the chest as well, that's Khnum, a creator god.
Where was this found and who was it made for originally?
This was made for Nespanetjerenpere. He was a god-father of Amun, one of those priests who were free to enter the deepest and most sacred parts of the temple. He had been a prophet of Amun of Karnak for a time.
Seems like it was sized for a child.
Interesting you should say that. While I don't know Nespanetjerenpere's height at death, I do know that the act of mummification really shrinks the human body quite a bit. All of the internal organs (save the heart) are removed, and all of the moisture is drawn out of the body
What is this for?
The Cartonnage of Nespanetjerenpere is a beautiful example of a decorated body container from the later periods of ancient Egypt. The physical structure protected the mummy of Nespanetjerenpere, who was a high-ranking priest, and the deities that cover the cartonnage were also there to protect the mummy on a symbolic level. This type of container served to identify, protect, and transform the deceased assisting in their journey from the world of the living into the world of the dead. You can even see two images of the deceased on the back. He is shown receiving life-giving water from a goddess.
What is the Cartonnage of Nespanetjerenpare made out of?
The material itself is called cartonnage. It is a mixture of linen and plaster that is then painted. It's very similar to papier mache. This example shows what a durable material it can be! It's in remarkable condition!
How do you pronounce Nespanenetjerenpere?
Try breaking up the syllables like this: Nes-pa-netjer-en-pe-re!
Eagle and goat? What is this?
This is a depiction of the Egyptian god Khum, a creator god with the head of a ram and the body of a vulture. Its placement has a protective role and, like other elements on the surface, was intended to help protect the deceased in his journey into the afterlife.
What is that on its chin?
It's a beard! This braided accessory with curl at the end mimics beards that the gods were believed to have and, here, connects Nespanetjerenpare to the realm of the gods.
The ancient Egyptians believed that, if you successfully made the journey to the afterlife, that your soul would become a god.
Thank you so much!
I liked the mummy but was the mummy a mommy?
Hahahaha! Nespanetjerenpare was a man, so wasn't a mommy! The red coloring of the face indicates that the deceased is male. He was probably a daddy!
Nespaneterenpare was an important priest during his lifetime. He was one of those priests who were free to enter the sanctuary of a temple (a special duty).
How thick is the cartonnage? Is it layered over wood or is it all made from linen and plaster?
Cartonnage is not used in an incredibly thick layer. The material is made from linen or papyrus mixed with plaster, similar to papier maché. What you may think looks like wood is a support for an area were the cartonnage is damaged. This container is actually hollow.
What are the two bird-headed gods on this mummy?
The gods you have photographed are Thoth, on the left, and Horus, on the right.
Thoth was the god of wisdom and Horus was the god of kingship and other important aspects of society. Together, they are tending to the hieroglyph "djed" which stands for endurance or strength and is also associated Osiris, the king of afterlife.
Was that cartonnage repainted? It looks like it was just made.
It's just really well preserved! The cartonnage has, of course, been cleaned, but the paint is all original. The dark, dry tombs in Egypt foster excellent preservation of artifacts and their coloring. The ancient Egyptians used, primarily, mineral-based pigments which are usually quite stable so long as they don't chip off.
You're welcome! The statues of Metjetji, in another gallery of the Egyptian section, are also remarkably painted and are over 1000 years older than this cartonnage.
Is there any significance for this object on his chin? Did they have beards that look like this or was it simply an object?
That is actually a false beard that was a related to the God Osiris. It wasn't representative of actual facial hair but would've been something that was attached to the face using a string. The curved beard was a way of linking oneself with Osiris, who was the god of the underworld.
What would this attached beard be made of?
Probably some sort of braided, dried fiber or the wool of a sheep.
Fascinating, thank you
Tell me more.
This is the Cartonnage of Nespanetjerenpare, a high ranking priest of Amun during the 9th century BCE. The highly detailed cartonnage is characteristic of a higher class individual, and the images are meant to identify, protect, and transform the priest in the afterlife.
Looking closely you'll notice deities including the jackal-headed god of mummification, Anubis; the ibis-headed god of wisdom and literacy, Thoth; the falcon headed god related to the living Pharaoh, Horus; and the ram-headed creator god, Khnum.
Thanks! You gave me Great imformation.
Why is this painted?
This cartonnage is the covering for a mummy of a man named Nespanetjerenpare. It is painted to tell us his name and title and to protect his mummy for his journey to the afterlife.
There are many symbols of protection on the front, like the ram with wings across his chest. All of the figures down the front are protective gods too. On the back, there are images of large gods who are helping Nespanetjernpare to achieve eternal life.
Is there a real mummy inside it?
There isn't now, but this cartonnage was made for the mummy of a man named Nespanetjerenpare.
Where is the mummy now?
We're not sure. The mummy was not inside when the cartonnage came to the Museum.
Is the face on the cartonnage real? It looks like a mask on the wall.
It is a lot like a mask. The cartonnage is kind of like a mask for a whole body.
The ancient Egyptians used extra plaster on the face part of the cartonnage to make is smooth and shiny.
I’m 11 years old and I’m learning about ancient Egypt can you tell me a little about Egypt?
I see you've found the cartonnage of Nespanetjerenpere. This cartonage is made of plaster and linen and would have been placed inside a larger sarcophagus.
The ancient Egyptians believed the afterlife was much like this life, but before they reached it, they would have to overcome obstacles on the way.
All of the symbols and scenes you see on this cartonnage would have helped the mummy on his journey to the world of the dead.
If I wanted to write a paper about this, where should I begin?
A cartonnage like this can be very overwhelming! I would definitely suggest discussing the function of a body container like this over all and then going one element at a time to discuss the iconography.
This type of container served to identify, protect, and transform the deceased assisting in their journey from the world of the living into the world of the dead.
When I began researching this object myself I went from top to bottom, the front and then the back. Get up close and pick out some elements that stand out to you.
We were wondering if this cartonnage actually held a mummy and, if so, when something like is brought to another country, does the mummy also come? Is it common to get everything together?
There are a couple pieces of information to consider here. To answer your first question, this cartonnage would have contained the mummy of a man named Nespanetjerenpare. In his particular case, we do not have his mummy.
If the container and mummy were acquired together in Egypt at the time when it was still legal to export antiquities, they certainly would have traveled together to their new home. Similarly, today, a container like this and its mummy that are part of museum collections do travel together for exhibitions.
Still on this subject, are there religious specifications the museum has to follow for these mummies? I mean, does opening a cartonnage violate the original reason for it to exist?
Scholars do try to be as respectful as possible of human remains. Especially with advancements in imaging technology, a cartonnage like this or a mummy would never be opened. Rather, they may be CT scanned to gather more information.
Would this have been buried standing up or laying down?
Great question! During parts of the funeral ritual, the cartonnage with the mummy inside would be stood up. But later, during burial, it would be laid down.
Is this original art?
It is in fact an authentic object from ancient Egypt!
It is a cartonnage which belonged to a man named Nespaneterenpere who was a Theban priest.
His mummy was originally inside and this would have been placed in his tomb. The elaborate decoration on the cartonnage served to identify, protect, and transform the priest, assisting him in his journey to the afterlife.
Me podrias dar informacion de esto?
Este tipo de contenedor se llama "cartonnage". Está hecho de lino o papiro mezclado con yeso, que luego fue formado alrededor de un cuerpo, como papel maché
Este cartonnage pertenece a un hombre llamada Nespanetjerenpere. Esta decorado con símbolos y deidades que puede ayudar a Nespanetjerenpere en su viaje a la más allá.
En la parte atrás, veré algunos deidades populares: Horus (con la cabeza de un falcon) y Thoth (con la cabeza de un pájaro ibis).
I like that it is written in hieroglyphs.
Me too! The hieroglyphs on this object, called a cartonnage, are prayers and spells to help protect the body of the man, Nespanetjerenpare, for his journey to the afterlife.
All of the small gods on the front of the cartonnage are also to help protect his body. The larger gods on the back are to help his soul live forever in the afterlife.
Is this a sarcophagus? The description says “cartonnage.”
This is not a sarcophagus. Though the word is quite popular when referring to ancient Egyptian coffins, technically, only coffins made of stone could be sarcophagi. This particular container is actually not even a coffin since it does not have a base and a lid and was instead formed around the mummy.
Cartonnage refers to a material made from linen or papyrus mixed with plaster, not unlike papier maché, which was used to form mummy masks and containers designed to be placed into larger sarcophagi.
Does the writing in the center of the cartonnage have any meaning?
Yes! All of the writing is important and meaningful! I don't have a full translation available, but the writing you see on the front of this object are prayers to help protect the owner's mummy. The column down the center addresses the god Osiris, king of the afterlife, asking him to grant provisions to Nespanetjerenpare, the owner of this cartonnage.
What is this image on the back?
The figures on either side are gods: Thoth, the ibis-headed god of wisdom to the left and Horus, the falcon-headed god of kingship and order to the right.
Together, they are praising the symbol "djed" which means strength. The symbol is shown wearing a crown that includes ram's horns, uraeus cobras wearing sun disks, another sun disk in the middle, and two ostrich feathers.
Someone told me that the image they are holding is actually the spine. Is that true?
We think so, yes! Many scholars believe that "djed" or "the djed pillar" represents the spine of the god Osiris.
What is this strap for?
That is part of the mount that the museum made to hold the object up. You may notice that it is connected to the glass itself.
Why do they have to be buried in this type of art?
It's not that they *had* to be buried this way, but they believed it made things easier. It started out of a belief that the soul would journey to the afterlife after death, but still needed the body to come back and rest. Therefore, the body needed to be preserved and identified.
Eventually the preservation and the decoration of the body and the tomb became more and more elaborate for the purposes of protection, the journey itself, and for eternity. The wealthier you were, the more elaborate equipment you could afford.
Are these bird feet holding something that looks like a mirror?
Those are bird feet! They belong to the god Khnum who is represented here with the body of a falcon and the head of a ram.
The symbols he is holding are called "shen." Shen means encircle so it represents a type of protection. The sign is based on a rope that has been knotted to form a circle.
In the center of the cartonnage there is an image of an animal head. What kind of animal is it?
That’s a ram’s head on the body of a falcon. This image represents the god Khnum, a fertility and creation deity especially associated with water and the annual flood.
What does the number 35.1265 mean?
You've got a good eye! That is the accession number. Every single thing that enters the museum's collection gets a number so we can keep track of it.
The number even tells you a little bit about when we got the object. This one starts with "35" which means that we got it in 1935!
What is the meaning of the eye on the back?
The eye you are seeing is a hieroglyph. Written this way, it functions as a letter, specifically the sound "iri."