The lid of the mummy case of Djedmontuiufankh bears painted decorations that include rituals and spells from the Egyptian Book of the Dead. This book was a kind of guide for the dead man as he journeyed through the afterlife, so that his soul could live on, ‘housed’ in the mummy and its case. For centuries, the Egyptians had painted such scenes on the walls of their tombs. But around 1000 BC, when Djedmontuiufankh, a priest of Amun, died and was mummified, the political and social situation in Egypt had become volatile. Important personages were buried in bare, hidden chambers in the rock so that grave robbers could not find them. Mummies were placed in cases, and all the symbols, rituals, and spells had to be painted on those cases.
The wooden lid of Djedmontuiufankh’s mummy case shows the priest in the form of the god Osiris. Every dead person became an Osiris, destined to rise from the dead. This is why Djedmontuiufankh is wearing a long divine wig and braided divine beard and has crossed his hands over his chest, holding two schematically depicted sceptres. On his chest and belly lie protective figures of the god Horus (shown with a falcon’s head), the sky goddess Nut, and the disc of the sun. Between them are smaller figures of gods and many columns of hieroglyphic text. The rest of the mummy case, which is not on display here, is decorated inside and out with many other scenes, including offerings, the burial, and the ritual cleansing of the dead man by the goddesses Isis and Nephthys.