Kawit, Priestess of Het-Hert

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Milk is offered to Kawit by an attendant who says, "For your Ka, Mistress.  Drink what I give you."
Transliteration of the glyphs: "n kA.T Hnwt swr di.i n.T"

King Nebhepetre Mentuhotep II, who reunited the Two Lands after the period of political disruption and famine in the First Intermediate Period and founded the 11th Dynasty of the Middle Kingdom, made His capital at Thebes and His funerary monument on its west bank at Deir el Bahari. Within the precinct of this mortuary temple were six tombs belonging to His daughters and royal wives. All of them were priestesses of Het-Hert, and the King had cut a chapel to Het-Hert into the nearby mountain. Queen Kawit is shown in various scenes cut in sunk relief into the limestone of her sarcophagus, which is now in the Cairo Museum. The central doors of a palace facade are placed on the side where her head would have turned, with Udjat eyes through which she could see her surroundings. In the scene above, a servant is offering her milk, while another attendant arranges her wig. She is holding a mirror very similar in shape to Sat-Hathor-Iunet's Het-Hert-head mirror of the 12th Dynasty.

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A servant offers a vessel of unguent to Kawit, who holds a fragrant lotus blossom.

In the scene above, Kawit wears a shawl covering her shoulders, and the chest on the left would have held the jewelry depicted above it.  The scenes on this sarcophagus, by repeating happy scenes from her life on earth, grant that Kawit will also enjoy them in the next world.  As Naville says, "The fact of something being represented causes it to exist." Kawit's titles included "The Royal Favorite, The Only One, the Priestess of Het-Hert," and she was "Beloved of the Great God, the Lord of Heaven." 


References for images

Detail from sarcophagus of Kawit, white limestone, 11th Dynasty, from Deir el Bahari, now in the Cairo Museum, in Donadoni's Egyptian Museum Cairo, p. 82.
Another detail from the sarcophagus of Kawit, in Saleh's The Egyptian Museum Cairo: Official Catalogue, pl. 69d.


Donadoni, Sergio, Egyptian Museum Cairo, New York, Newsweek, Inc., c. 1969.
Naville, Edouard, The XIth Dynasty Temple at Deir el-Bahari I, London, The Egypt Exploration Fund 1907.
Saleh, Mohamed, The Egyptian Museum Cairo Official Catalogue, Mainz, Philipp von Zabern, c. 1987

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