Maatkare (May She Live)
The inscription on the base of this scarab records Hatshepsut’s throne name, Maatkare, which may be roughly translated as Maat (the goddess of truth) is the life force of Re (the sun god). The two hieroglyphs on either side of the crouching goddess have the meaning “May She Live,” or “Living” (ankh.ti) https://www.metmuseum.org/art/collection/search/549725#:~:text=The%20inscription%20on%20the%20base,Living%22%20(ankh.ti)
She was (one of) the queen pharaohs who approximately ruled the longest as her mates. though the name had been often used for many queens in the old Egypt, this one’s coffin seems had the minor damages.
(stunning how equality was more current than today!)
Let’s read this fascinating and almost tragic description by adorable madam Marie Grillot with thanks 🙏💖 http://Marie Grillot
It is in this imposing and magnificent sarcophagus made of cedar and acacia wood that the mummy of Maâtkarê rested and, according to Gaston Maspero, that of her stillborn child, Princess Moutemhâït. He specifies that Maâtkarê belonged to: “the family of the High Priests of Amon Theban, contemporaries of the XXth and XXIst dynasties”.
For Mohamed Saleh and Hourig Sourouzian (“Official Catalog of the Egyptian Museum in Cairo”): “She was, in all likelihood, the daughter of the first priest of Amon-Rê Pinedjem I and Queen Henuttauy”.
Benefiting from all the privileges linked to her rank, she was notably, according to Silvia Einaudi in “The Wonders of the Egyptian Museum in Cairo”: “the first princess to bear the title of Divine Adoratrice of the god Amon, title with which we designated the wife of the god “. Devoting her life to honouring the Theban god; she was then “considered a divinity”.
In his “Guide to the museum of Boulaq,” while presenting this sarcophagus under the reference 5210-5236, Gaston Maspero indicates that: “Queen Mâkeri died in childbirth and her child with her. This child, who probably did have not had to live a day, bears all the titles of his mother, among others, that of Royal principal wife. Moutemhâït was, therefore, neither Royal Wife nor even anything on this earth: but the custom was that the women of the Ramessides family had this birth title and she had it “.
Was the great Egyptologist wrong? Analyzes carried out since, seem to prove that it would be: “the mummy of a favourite monkey carried beyond the grave, thus removing the doubts about the celibacy of the Divine Bride” (Mohamed Saleh and Hourig Sourouzian).
Anthropoid in shape, very massive, the sarcophagus has a height of 2.23 m and a maximum width of 0.77 m. And yet … beyond this imposing mass, what holds the attention and captivates, it is, indeed, the gaze of the deceased. It radiates gentleness, benevolence, kindness, goodness, all combined with a serenity idealized by the beyond.
The perfectly symmetrical face, with full cheeks, as well as the neck are covered with gold leaf. Its large almond-shaped eyes are drawn out and the iris, very black, stands out delicately against the white of the eye. They are outlined, made up in dark blue, tone resumed for the eyebrows which are relatively thick and ideally follow the shape of the eye. The nose is straight and fine; the mouth with closed lips is small but expressive.
This endearing face is framed by a rich and imposing dark blue wig. It is streaked with: “vertical sinuosities to imitate the hair, the bottom of the legs is golden; on the head is spread a vulture traced in gold, at the end of its wings, which hang on the legs of the klaft is fixed a uraeus The head of the vulture must have been in gold or gilded wood, and stand on the forehead between two uraei “specifies Georges Daressy in the” General Catalog of Egyptian Antiquities of the Cairo Museum “.
Her neck is adorned with two necklaces which he describes as follows: “The first, represented between the braids of the wig, alternate red bands with blue ones and ends in a pattern in the shape of a drop below which appears a beetle. winged; the second is larger and composed of stylized flower garlands “.
Maâtkarê is represented in the Osiriac position. “The hands, of which only the left survived, were gilded and perhaps held ankh signs of which the lower part remains in the left fist. The wrists are adorned with bracelets and the elbows with a lotus flower. forearm, we have drawn a winged scarab holding a sun disk between the forelegs. On the arms, the image of a falcon, above the gold symbol, with the wings outstretched. Under the arms, as if it grew under the necklaces, is painted a pectoral in the form of a sanctuary adorned with a winged scarab holding a solar disk placed in the middle of two seated deities with falcon heads “(Silvia Einaudi).
The body of the sarcophagus is entirely painted, gilded, or varnished and completely covered with scenes, symbols, divinities; the goddess-vulture with outstretched wings occupies the centre and no space is left blank. “The rest of the surface of the sarcophagus bears numerous polychrome scenes, inside panels delimited by inscriptions in which the deceased make offerings to deities. The horror vacui, which results in an overabundance of decoration leaving no space available, is characteristic of this period “(” Treasures of Ancient Egypt at the Cairo Museum “, National Geographic).
Mohamed Saleh and Hourig Sourouzian underline that: “the lower part is divided into scenes by the bands of inscriptions giving the title of Maâtkarê (middle band) and the epithets of the queen (sidebands) who claims to be venerated by the Gods Re, Ptah-Sokar-Osiris, Horus and Anubis “.
In this first “exterior” sarcophagus was: “a second sarcophagus inside which was placed the mummy of the deceased, covered with a mummiform wooden plank, according to the custom adopted from the Ramesside period” (Silvia Einaudi).
The whole was discovered, by the Service of Antiquities, in July 1881, in the “Hiding place of the royal mummies” or “Hiding place of Deir el-Bahari”. This collective tomb, located on the west bank of Louqsor, precisely at the foot of the rock of Chaak al-Tablyah, in Deir el-Bahari, had been found ten years earlier by the Gournawis, the Abd el-Rassoul brothers. They thus supplied the antique market with high-quality artefacts whose provenance unknown will eventually raise questions and suspicions …
After an investigation with many twists and turns, the collaborators of Gaston Maspero will go back to the source of the trafficking, not without having created very strong tensions in the clan of discoverers. Thus on July 5, 1881, in the crushing heat of the rocks of Deir el Bahari, guided by Mohamed Abd el-Rassoul, Emile Brugsch, Ahmed Kamal Effendi and Thadéos Matafian, will supervise the “re-discovery” of the DB 320 …
About fifty mummies – including about forty pharaohs – had been sheltered there, around 1100 BC (XXIst dynasty). The time was then troubled and many cases of abuse had been committed in the Valley of the Kings. Respecting and venerating the ancient rulers, the high priest Herihor who then ruled the Theban region took the initiative, after the looting and desecration of their eternal residences, to re-bury their mummies in a tomb originally known to have been the one of a princess Inhâpi.
So Maâtkare’s outer coffin had also been looted – perhaps twice – in antiquity; the head of the frontal vulture, which must have been made of gold or gilded wood, had been torn off, as well as the right hand. Likewise, the second coffin had not been spared.
From July 14, the sarcophagi, mummies and remains of funerary furniture will be transferred to Boulaq by the steamboat from the “Le Menshieh” museum.
Visitor’s guide to the Boulaq museum, Gaston Maspero, 1883 https://gallica.bnf.fr/ark:/12148/bpt6k6305105w/f338.item.r=5236.texteImageGeneral Catalog of Egyptian Antiquities in the Cairo Museum N ° 61001-61044, Coffins of the Royal Hiding Places (1909), Georges Daressy, published in Cairo, IFAO https://archive.org/details/DaressyCercueils1909 The Finding of Deir-el-Bahari, Emile BrugschOfficial catalog Egyptian Museum of Cairo, Mohamed Saleh, Hourig Sourouzian, Verlag Philippe von Zabern, 1997Treasures of Egypt – The Wonders of the Egyptian Museum in Cairo, Francesco TiradrittiThe treasures of ancient Egypt at the Cairo museum, National Geographic