Mummy Case of Paankhenamun
Works Cited Not Included
The work I chose to analyze was from a wall fragment from the tomb of Ameneemhet and wife Hemet called Mummy Case of Paankhenamun, found in the Art Institute of Chicago. The case of the Mummy Paankhenamun is one of the most exquisite pieces of art produced by the Egyptian people during the time before Christ. This coffin belonged to a man named Paankhenamun, which translates to “He Lives for Amun” (Hornblower & Spawforth 74). Paankhenamun was the doorkeeper of the temple of the god Amun, a position he inherited from his father.
Interestingly, X-rays reveal that the mummy case of Paankhenamun does in fact contain a mummy inside dating back to the years of c. 945 – 715 B.C. The practice of mummification was the Egyptian people’s way of preserving the spirits of the Gods/Goddesses and royalty. The idea was that when these beings came back to life, they would be preserved and well prepared for their next lives. By the time of the New Kingdom, the Egyptians already had developed techniques of mummification, which were done under a priest’s supervision (Stokstad 114), and since Paankhenamun was the priest of Amun, he was most likely was in charge of these procedures.
In the ancient Egyptian culture, the belief was that there was a life force and spirit inside of the body, known as the ‘Ka’. Therefore, mummification was performed as a ritual to preserve the physical features of the body as well as to protect its inner spirit, mainly to ensure that the ‘Ka’ could recognize the body where it may dwell in the eternal life. Thus, the funerary psychology of ancient Egyptians was that death did not bring an end to living, but instead was only an escape from the physical human life and a gateway to immortal being. Due to the fact that a being’s life span was short in ancient times, people’s main hopes rested in their afterlives, where they would be with the gods (Stockstad 121).
Aside from being a priest, the importance of Paankhenamun’s position was due to his association with the Amun, who was a significant god of Egyptian Thebes. Viewed as chief divinity, Amun was often equated with the famous god Zeus and he even had his own worshiping cult (Freedman, 322). Moreover, Amun was originally one of the eight gods of Hermopolis, known as the god of air. However, at the time of the New Kingdom, this chief god of Thebes acquired more roles as the god of fertility and warfare, which also related to the country’s great political and economic strength during that time period (Hornblower & Spawforth 74-5). Nonetheless, during the 12th Dynasty, there was a temple built for Amun’s worship and toward the end of the 18th Dynasty, Amun’s status increased even more and he became known as “…the great royal deity who was “Father of the Gods” and ruler of Egypt and the people of its empire (Rosalie 104).
The Mummy Case of Paankhenamun was composed of a substance known as cartonnage, which was usually...