The Tutankhamun Exhibit
Basic Funeral Equipment
One of the four protective goddesses who stand at the sides of the canopic chest, Selket, like her companions Isis, Nepthys, and Neith, is made of carved wood coated with gesso and gilt. She was fitted into a slot on the sledge by means of a support below her feet. The only paint is that used to delineate her eyes and eyebrows. Upon her head is her emblem, the scorpion, whose sting she was reputed to be able to cure.
In the Coffin Texts, Selket functions as a protectress of the canopic equipment and also as a guardian of the coffin. Her magic is referred to in religious texts, and it was she who would go against the evil serpent Apophis, the enemy of the sun god. Her role was later expanded to that of a protectress of the dead and her varied functions even included aiding during childbirth. She is usually depicted as a human female.
In the tomb of Tutankhamun it is Selket who will protect the intestines of the king. Placed in a miniature coffin, and according to inscriptional evidence, this organ was identified as one of the four sons of Horus, Kebehsenuef. The hieroglyph on the lid of the case states that Selket will put her arms upon what is inside her, an apparent reference to the representation of her on the underside of the lid and the three dimensional sculpture of her with outstretched arms.
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