The Funerary Beds
In the tomb of Tutankhamun 7 beds were discovered: 3 of them were categorized as funerary while the remaining four were classified as ordinary or conventional beds (including one folding bed).
The Funerary beds were found in the antechamber placed lengthwise against the west wall in front of the entrance facing the burial chamber, arranged from smallest to largest. Each one was put lengthwise with the head facing the tail of the one in front of it. At the time of discovery, they were laden with offerings and other objects.
They are all similar in construction and each bed consists of four detachable parts as follows:
(1) Two animal side-sections
(2) The mattress in between or the place on which the body of the deceased was placed (the bed itself)
(3) The footboard between the tails of the animals.
(4) The rectangular hollow pedestal, upon which the feet of the animal used to stand
Each part was made separately and then they were assembled and attached together by means of long thin rods of wood tied together with copper rings.
They are all constructed of wood, stuccoed, gilded and some parts covered with black resin or blue glass.
How did we know that they are funerary beds?
From the formula containing the title “mAa xrw” meaning true of voice referring to the king, inscribed upon the rail part between the animal heads, also the king is described as “Osiris”.
-These funerary couches were the first complete examples to be found of the kind, but similar beds are represented in the scenes of the tombs of Seti II and Ramses III, and from fragments found in earlier excavated royal tombs. Also there are other scenes which represent Anubis performing the last stages of mummification on similar beds, but we have to understand that these are not real embalming beds.
What do real embalming beds look like?
Real embalming beds are low beds made out of stone with a basin attached to one side in order to contain the liquids resulting from the mummification process. Priests used to embalm the bodies sitting on their knees in front of these beds.
The Leonine Couch measures 1.56 m in height and 1.8 m in length.
The Bovine Couch measures 1.5 m in height and 2.2 m in length.
The Hybrid Couch measures 1.3 m in height and 2.3 m in length.
• The funerary beds are depicted here with different heads of goddesses such as:
The Ritual beds or The Funerary Bed of King Tutankhamun,Representing Goddess Mehet-weret
The Ritual beds or The Funerary Bed of King Tutankhamun, Representing Goddess Mehet
The Ritual beds or The Funerary Couch with the Head of Hippopotamus of Tutankhamun
Function of the three couches:
The laying of the body of the deceased upon these three couches during the funeral ceremonies had the function of bringing the deceased in contact with the three deities (Mehet, Mehet-weret, Ammut), and thus guaranteeing the opportunity for rebirth each could offer.
When the deceased is laid on the leonine couch, he would be in contact with the goddess Mehet who permits the regular arrival of eternal flooding of the Nile (seasonal return of the Nile flood symbolizing rebirth), and this water is coming from Nun (primeval ocean) since the ancient Egyptians thought that the borders of the universe and the depth of the underworld is Nun, from which all things came.
Then from the primeval ocean came out the goddess Mehet-weret in the Legend of Destruction of Mankind and carried the god Re upon her back from this world to heaven.
And as for the goddess Ammut, she could personify the sky, which swallows the sun-god at dusk in order to give birth to him once again at dawn. The same cycle is done with the dead people, however reversed. When they ascend to the sky, Ammut swallows them at dawn to give birth to them the following dusk and they become stars in the sky, thus guaranteeing eternity for the dead people. So when the deceased king is laid on the hybrid couch, Ammut will swallow him at dawn and becomes a star at dusk, thus guaranteeing the opportunity for rebirth.