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Egyptian sarcophagus

What is a Mummy kept in?

Ancient Egyptians believed in life after death. They believed that the dead would still need their bodies intact for this wonderful afterlife, so they devised a way of preserving the bodies from decay for as long as possible. We call this process mummification. After a body was embalmed and wrapped, the mummy was laid in a coffin or sarcophagus. The sarcophagus could be just one coffin, or a series of coffins, each slightly larger than the last so that they fit inside each other. The ancient Egyptians thought of these sarcophagi as a substitute body and house for the dead person's spirit, so the decorations on the sarcophagus were very important. Because of the belief that the dead person had left this world for a better life, the Egyptians painted the sarcophagi in bright and cheerful colours. Hieroglyphics, including the person's name, and religious representations covered the sarcophagus. Special symbols intended to protect the body or help the spirit on it's difficult and dangerous journey to the afterlife were included in the decoration.

Decorations and Symbols

False eyes were painted on the side of the sarcophagus, near the head, so the mummy could look out.

A door was painted on the sides so the mummy's spirit could leave and re-enter the sarcophagus.

A scarab beetle was often painted on the sarcophagus as it was a good luck symbol of rebirth.

Nut, the sky goddess, often wrapped her feathery wings around the mummy in protection.

A death mask was made. This is an idealised face looking similar to the person, and hair or wig of the dead person. This allowed the soul to find the body in the afterlife.

Elaborate collars and jewellery were worn by the mummy. These helped to show how important the person was in life.

Make your own Egyptian sarcophagus

The sarcophagus base and lid

1. Cut along the solid lines 2. Fold along the dotted lines using the arrows as guides 3. Glue the two outer sides (1 onto 2) 4. Fold the base up and glue the side tabs to the end 5. Glue all the triangle tabs to the underneath of the base 6. Glue the two overlapping edges of the sides at the top of the head

Repeat these instructions for making the lid.

The casing for the Mummy's feet

1. Cut along the solid lines 2. Fold along all of the dotted lines 3. Glue the tabs to create the box 4. Glue the whole foot casing to the bottom end of the lid

Foot casing

Lid

1

1

2

2

3

3

3

Base

1

1

2

2

3

3

3

Information

mummy

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