Nut with disheveled hair in the Coffin of Nefer-Renepet

Recently Branislav Andelkovic and Jonathan P. Elias published an article about the wooden coffin of Nefer-renepet from Akhmin  donated by E. Brummer to the Museum of Belgrade (Ernest Brummer and the Coffin of Nefer-Renepet from Akhmin, Issues in Ethnology and Anthropoly, n.s., Vol. 8, Is. 2, 2013, pp 565-584) http://www.anthroserbia.org/Content/PDF/Articles/60b0534bab3c41509c430f29feea8df3.pdf

Coffin of Nefer-Renepet. XXX Dynasty. Museum of Belgrade. Photo: www.anthroserbia.org

Coffin of Nefer-Renepet. XXX Dynasty. Museum of Belgrade. Photo: http://www.anthroserbia.org

This Egyptian coffin had been dated somewhere between the XXII and the XXV Dynasties. The authors show thanks to the decoration and the writings that the coffin of Nefer-Renepet might belong to the XXX Dynasty. Interesting for us is the image of Nut into the cover, with her rising arms and her standing up hair. This image was one of basis for dating the coffin so late in the history of Ancient Egypt, so the authors related it to many other image of Nut in that way at that period.

He point for us is that the authors reefer to  Brunner and Pitsch (1984), who linked this late image of Nut to the spells 638 and 1607 of the Pyramid Texts: ”Thy mother Nut has spread herself over thee, in her name of “She of Št-p.t“. According to them, this image of Nut has a protective meaning, the goddess would protect the deceased during the hours of the night and the day.

We do not deny that this was a part of the function of Nut forwards the dead. However, as long as we have seen in our research, the image of Nut with disheveled hair inside the cover of the coffin was directly related to spell 2171 of Pyramid Texts, which in a very precise way describes this image of Nut:” Nut has given her arms to thee, N., she of the long hair, she of the hanging breasts”. In fact, the spell describes perfectly the image of Nut in the coffin of Hornedjitef from the Ptolemaic Period (under the reign of Ptolemy III).

Coffin of Hornedjitef from Ptolemaic Period.

Coffin of Hornedjitef. Ptolemaic Period. British Museum. Photo: http://www.britishmuseum.org

This iconography of Nut bended forwards and with her hair falling down and appeared also lately in the history of Ancient Egypt in the outer part of some coffins or even in some stelae.

Funerary stele of Lady Taperet with an image of Nut in nwn gesture. XXII Dynasty. Musée du Louvre. Photo: www.nybooks.com

Funerary stele of Lady Taperet with an image of Nut in nwn gesture. XXII Dynasty. Musée du Louvre. Photo: http://www.nybooks.com

The Egyptian goddess had the two roles, on one hand she was the protective sky over the dead, but on the other hand Nut was the mother, who bends her body, whose hair falls down and who gives her breast to the deceased. Inside the coffin this image was the symbol of maternity and the coffin became the womb, so it granted the rebirth of the corpse.

It is also interesting to notice the orientation of the image of Nut inside the cover of these coffins; her face would coincide with the mummy’s face, while we can see the cavity for the feet. His position would recreate the birth, the first part of the body going out from the womb is the head, so the deceased is not facing the goddess, but Nut is receiving her new born baby.

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