Sarcophagus of Kawit a cup-bearer stands before her

Sarcophagus of Kawit a cup-bearer stands before her

This is the sarcophagus of Queen Kawit, the wife of King Nebhepetre Mentuhotep, the founder of the Middle Kingdom. The outer faces are beautifully decorated with daily life scenes, in one case depicting her drinking in front of a table laden with food, while an attendant fixes her headband and a maid pours her next drink. She holds a mirror in her free hand. In another scene, she is shown holding a lotus flower to her nose while dipping her finger in an unguent container held up by a servant. Her chest lies in front of her, the jewelry inside it depicted one on top of the other. Other scenes show cows being milked or calves breastfeeding. The combination of beauty, seen in the mirror, jewelry, and unguent, together with the lotus, the cows, and milk, together form very clear allusions to fertility, youth, rebirth, and Hathor, the goddess of love, beauty, fertility, music, and motherhood.

Middle Kingdom, 11th Dynasty, reign of Nebhepetre Mentuhotep (c.2055–2004 BC)

Medium: Limestone

Provenance: Deir al‑Bahari