from the collection of the DIA


Cartonnage of a Man
Egyptian Dynasty 22 (850 - 750 B.C.)
Linen, glue and paint
Frederick Stearns Collection (11800A/90.1S11800A)

The registers on this cartonnage (mummy case) describe the rebirth of the deceased. This is accomplished by linking the deceased with things that appear to die and be reborn either daily, such as the sun and lotus, or seasonally, such as trees, or mythologically, such as the god Osiris. Osiris was the ruler of the dead and the main god of the funerary cult.

The bottom (or lowest level at the foot of the mummy case) register shows the winged scarab beetle pushing a disc, representing the creator god Khepri pushing the sun across the sky. The fifth register from the bottom shows the mummy in a tree. This tree is green and full of leaves, but trees seasonally lose their leaves and appear dead, only to grow more leaves. The sixth register from the bottom shows the preparation of the mummy. The seventh register shows the weighing of the deceasedís heart against the feather of Maat, which stood for truth and justice.


Detroit Institute of Arts: Ancient Egypt Lesson Plans for Teachers