Sarcophagus of Queen Kawit, Wife of Mentuhotep II

By Jacqueline Engel

Middle Kingdom,11th Dynasty
Egyptian Museum Caïro
Height: 119 cm
Length: 262 cm
Width: 119 cm

The representations around the sarcophagus of Kawit were meant to perpetuate activities of a princess of the palace.
Her sarcophagus was one of the most noteworthy in terms of the bas-relief sculpture in the Theban court. Here we find a new provincial style liberated from the constrains of register divisions.
The elongated bodies and the coarse facial features reflect the Theban ideal of feminine beauty.

Kawit is busy with her toilet, seated on a high back armchair drinking milk with one hand while the other holds a mirror. One of her servants arranges the locks of her mistress’s wig with dainty fingers.

On the other side, Kawit is sniffing a bouquet of lotus blossom, while her servant offers her an unguent vessel and fans her.

On the side of the mummy’s head there is a palace facade with the central doors decorated with udjat eyes to permit the deceased to communicate with the world of living.

A cow whose calf remains bound to her foreleg, provides milk. A tear flows from its eye as if the cow suffered pain when losing milk destined to her calf.

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