Nested Coffins of Iawttayesheret

Dynasty 25, ca. 760–656 BC
Wood, pigment, gesso
1999.1.8 a,b,c,d
The Charlotte Lichirie Collection of Egyptian Art

This nested set of coffins belonged to a woman named Iawttayesheret, also called Tayesheret. Iawttayesheret was a great follower of the Divine Adoratrice of Amun, and almost certainly resided in Thebes. Both her titles and the high quality of her coffins indicate that Iawttayesheret was a woman of some stature. During the Twenty-fifth dynasty, Nubian kings reunited Egypt following the political upheaval of the Third Intermediate Period. In order to reinforce their rule, they installed female members of the royal family in the office of the Divine Adoratrice of Amun, the highest position in the temple of the national deity. These women enjoyed unprecedented power and independence and surrounded themselves with men and women of status and wealth. Iawttayesheret, the owner of this coffin, belonged to this elite group as one of the divine leaders of the retinue of the Divine Adoratrice.