Central to the ancient Egyptians was the belief in the afterlife. In order to ensure the survival of the ka, the immortal life-force, the body of the deceased was preserved as the ka’s eternal dwelling. The intricate process of embalming, or mummification, involved removing the internal organs for storage in separate containers, and treating the corpse with a type of salt called natron and various resins. Finally, the corpse was wrapped in linen bandages and enclosed in a cartonnage, a casing of plaster and linen molded to the body, and painted. This mummy is an exceptional case because X-rays show that an extra adult skull was placed in Teshat’s wrappings between her legs. This may have been the act of grave-robbers, who stole the jewelry and traditional amulets she probably wore.
The hieroglyphs on the wooden coffin state that this mummy, Teshat, was the daughter of the treasurer of the Temple of Amon at Thebes. She died in her mid to late teens, one of several wives in a harem. Both coffin and cartonnage bear representations of Teshat’s face in an ideal youthful state. Many protective gods are pictured on the cartonnage in their symbolic forms, together with bands of prayers asking them to accept offerings made on her behalf.
Teshat’s elevated status entitled her to burial in a elaborate stone tomb decorated with wall paintings and supplied with food, furniture and clothing to provide for her ka’s comfort in the afterlife.