Tayet (Tait) was an ancient Egyptian goddess of weaving and the patron of weavers and those involved in the ritual of mummification. It is thought that her name derives from the word "shroud". She was thought to craft the woven bandages used during the mummification process which were sometimes referred to as "the land of Tayet" . In the The story of Sinuhe the pharaoh Senusret invites the elderly Sinhue to return to Egypt and promises him that he will be buried at home with all of the usual accoutrements including "the wrappings from the hand of Tayet". Linen bandages were also used to bandage wounds and it was thought that Tayet could protect the injured person from a blood hemorrhage and ansure the cleanliness of the wound. Thus she represented purity and perfection.

It seems that she was originally viewed as the spiritual mother of the pharaoh and the protector of his physical body. During the Old Kingdom she was referenced in spell and prayers in the Pyramid Texts which were intended to protect the corpse of the king. However, as time progressed she was increasingly associated with linen bandages and with the "Wab" priests (sometimes known as the purification priests) who wore fine linen when discharging their duties.

She was associated with Nephthys and Neith and to a lesser extent Isis and Osiris because of her connection with mummification. She also created the woven curtain which hung in the chamber where the ritual of embalming was conducted. This linked her with Ptah who was sometimes thought to have embroidered the design on the curtain.

copyright J Hill 2010
Return to Top

Ancient Egypt Online

Predynastic period Early Dynastic Old Kingdom First Intermediate Middle Kingdom Second Intermediate New Kingdom Third Intermediate Graeco-Roman period Late period