Volume 5 (2022)

First page of the paper.

Papers presented at the third international conference of the Hellenic Institute of Egyptology

"You look Lovely, Darling, in any Garments!": Women Coffins as Self–Presentation

Lavrentyeva, Nika V.


The styling of cloth and the fine appearance were the points of great interest and significance for women of all times and nations. On the numerous paintings, wall reliefs, sculptures and papyrus vignettes one can only admire the beauty and richness of women's garments. Every epoch of course had its peculiarities, but the New Kingdom and the Late Period were the times of the most prominent dresses, hairstyles and jewellery. The pieces of art of that period reflect these outstanding garments. Even when a woman is depicted naked (cosmetic spoon, PSMFA Inv. No. I.1a 3627), she is clothed with her natural or artificial beauty with tattoo and jewellery. The typical narrow pencil case dress was the example of classic style used to depict goddesses and women-priests (statue of Ran-nay, PSMFA Inv. No. I.1a 2099). Moreover, the anthropoid coffins also could be perceived as beautiful garments in which a woman shall meet the Great God, and are covered with amulets as jewellery; her breast is shown, she wears a huge wig, pendants, earrings and rings (coffin of Ius-ᶜankh, PSMFA Inv. No. I.1a 6800). The coffin as a body-shell was decorated not only with religious scenes to help her to overcome all the difficulties of the paths of the Netherworld, but it was a self-presentation of richness and beauty of the woman. The depiction of Hathor on the bottom of the coffin of the 21st Dynasty was not only a sign of her coming to the necropolis under protection of the goddess, but it shows the endless beauty, which was the desired dream of any woman: thin figure, rounded shapes, rich garments and young timeless beauty. It demonstrates the ideal for eternal life in the great beyond. The beauty and fine smell made the deceased woman goddess-like in her endless going forth by day.


Lavrentyeva, N.V. 2022. «"You look Lovely, Darling, in any Garments!": Women Coffins as Self–Presentation», JHIE 5: 61–74



Language: en

Submitted on 2022-08-20; accepted on 2022-12-20


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