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The Journey Beyond

Coffin and mummy of Iufenamun

Third Intermediate Period

Only the trough of this coffin has survived and along with the mummy and a mismatched lid was brought to Scotland by Sir Colin Scott Moncrieff – a soldier and engineer - around the beginning of the 20th century, probably as a gift from the Egyptians after his role in the completion of a major hydraulic project on the Nile. Moncrieff gave them to his former school, Edinburgh Academy, before they were passed to the Royal Museum of Scotland.

It is a typical Third Intermediate Period Theban type (22nd Dynasty), made of plastered sycamore-fig wood, and highly decorated with text and images; many are common motifs in ancient Egyptian iconography - a few of which can be seen elsewhere in this exhibition, such as wedjat eyes. The top of the trough is surrounded by a frieze of uraei (cobras) and maat feathers, while the ends have depictions of a djed pillar (the backbone of Osiris, symbolising stability and strength), and the goddess Nephthys, holding ankh signs and symbols of the west (the realm of the dead). The sides show various gods, including Thoth, Osiris, Horus and Ra. Iufenamun also features in various places, in a pose of adoration and giving offerings to the gods, with his name and titles.

Iufenamun was a priest of Amun, a man of high status, with titles including ‘Chief of the cemetery for works in the estate of Amun-Ra, king of the gods’, and one of the few entrusted with the task of reburying the remains of some of the New Kingdom pharaohs, including Rameses II and Sety I, when the Valley of the Kings was closed c.961BC. The kings’ coffins record the names of those involved in the move to a secret location at Deir el-Bahri, Thebes (TT320), and mentions Iufenamun, who was also the son of the courtier in charge of the whole sacred task, Nesypaqashuty. This secret cache was only re-discovered in 1881 by tomb robbers, and the film The Night of Counting the Years (1969, dir. Shadi Abdel Salam) tells the story.

All images copyright The Trustees of National Museums Scotland
Iufenamun is shrouded in linen bandages, with his limbs individually wrapped, and his internal organs have been treated and returned to his body. Conservators at NMS have worked on the mummy and coffin to stabilise them for their journey to Kilmarnock.
Iufenamun has recently been non-invasively scanned, and his coffin and remains, along with a facial reconstruction, will be part of the new Ancient Egypt gallery in the National Museum of Scotland when it re-opens at the end of the Royal Museum Project in 2011.


National Museums Scotland
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National Museums Scotland

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