Detail of the Outer Coffin of Amenemopet

This is another detail from the outer coffin of a man called Amenemopet who lived during the 22nd Dynasty (around 3000 years ago), I shared a photo of the interior a few months ago and this is the outside of the foot portion of the coffin.

I love looking at and taking photos of coffins from this era, because they are so covered in motifs and decorative elements – every time you look at an object you see something you’d not seen before!

The central panel of this piece is heavy on protective snake motifs, just in this photo alone there are three of them. And between them are solar and Osirian images, with more protective beings (and more snakes).

The top panel shows the scarab beetle, Khepri, pushing the sun up (protected by paired snakes) from what looks awfully like a palace facade motif. He’s flanked by two mummiform jackal headed beings, kneeling on the ground and each holding a crook and flail.

Below is an analogous scene with different participants. The sun disc and flanking snakes sits on top of a tyet knot, the symbol of the goddess Isis, and the mummiform beings are human headed and seated on chairs.

Detail of the Outer Coffin of Amenemopet. From Sheikh Abd el-Gurna, Western Thebes. Third Intermediate Period, early Dynasty 22, c.975-909 BCE. Acc. No.: 17.2.7a

And there’s loads more, if you go to my photo site you can look at a larger version using the drop menu on the top right of the page and see more of the details to the left & the right. The coffin itself is in the Met Museum, acc. no.: 17.2.7a.

See it on my photo site: https://photos.talesfromthetwolands.org/picture.php?/1567/category/6

Jigsaw Puzzles:
easier: https://www.jigsawplanet.com/?rc=play&pid=2f6fac7de13f
harder: https://www.jigsawplanet.com/?rc=play&pid=286eb8bf813f

Coffins of Nephthys

In these rather splendid coffins was buried a woman called Nephthys, who held the title of Mayor’s Daughter and lived during the Middle Kingdom in the reigns of Senwosret I & Senwosret II (so around 4000 years ago). She was found in her coffins in an intact burial at Meir.

She wasn’t the original owner of the coffins – her name looks added into the inscription later, and previously the coffin was inscribed for a man called Ukhhotep. You can’t see it on this photo, but the text of the name is in a subtly different colour to the rest.

The outer coffin (box shaped) is made of wood – sycomore and ziziphus wood, which are both (I think!) found in Egypt. So not the highest quality of wood (that would be imported woods like cedar) but the planks look pretty straight and even so it was an expensive coffin.

The inner coffin is made of cartonnage (which is like papier-mâché but made with linen and plaster) and has a gilded face, and a broad collar made of inlaid stones. I particularly like the colour of the gold, which gives the effect of being both golden and skin coloured.

Coffins of Nephthys. From Cemetery of Meir. Middle Kingdom, Dynasty 12, reign Senwosret I – Senwosret II, c. 1961-1878 BCE. Acc. No.s: 11.150.15a-c

The coffins (and Nephthys) are now in the Met Museum, acc. no.s: 11.150.15a-c.

See it on my photo site: https://photos.talesfromthetwolands.org/picture.php?/1249/category/6 and go one to the right for an angle where you can see the text alteration.

Jigsaw Puzzles:
easier: https://www.jigsawplanet.com/?rc=play&pid=1b0777118e57
harder: https://www.jigsawplanet.com/?rc=play&pid=03da66950fbb

Mummy Mask of the Mistress of the House Iynaferty

Iynaferty (or Iineferty) rejoiced in the title of “Mistress of the House”, which actually just means she was a housewife but sounds rather grander. She was buried at Deir el Medina in her husband Sennedjem’s tomb (and presumably lived at Deir el Medina too!).

Sennedjem also had a fabulous title – he was “Servant in the Place of Truth”, which means he was one of the people who worked on building the royal tombs in the nearby Valley of the Kings. Given the richness of his tomb, probably quite a senior figure in the workforce.

This is Iynaferty’s mummy mask and it’s quite beautiful. I particularly like the lotus flower motif on the top of her head. She’s also depicted as having natural hair poking out from the wig, with two little pigtails framing her face. Perhaps a glimpse into contemporary fashions?

Mummy Mask of the Mistress of the House Iynaferty. From the tomb of Sennedjem (TT1), Deir el Medina. New Kingdom, Dynasty 19, reign of Rameses II, c.1279–1213 BCE. Acc. No.: 86.1.6

It was found in TT1 at Deir el Medina, and is now in the Met Museum (acc. no.: 86.1.6). It dates to the reign of Ramesses II.

See it on my photo site: https://photos.talesfromthetwolands.org/picture.php?/1587/category/6 and go one to the right for a close up of the head.

Jigsaw Puzzles:
easier: https://www.jigsawplanet.com/?rc=play&pid=2514110b5c84
harder: https://www.jigsawplanet.com/?rc=play&pid=1d65d50953a8

Head of the Anthropoid Coffin of Heribsenes

The head of this coffin is interesting – at first glance it’s a rather fine piece of work, but as you look more closely you can see it doesn’t look like it was made all in one go! The face doesn’t quite seem to match the surrounding wig, and looks rather nicer quality.

The coffin itself is inscribed for a woman called Heribsenes who lived in the 26th Dynasty, but the Met Museum’s website dates the face to the New Kingdom based on the style. So anything from 500 to 1000 years older than the rest of the piece.

But this doesn’t appear to be a modern frankenstein of a coffin – the wig is nicely shaped round the face, for instance. So this is ancient re-use: Heribsenes (or those burying her) saw this fine old coffin fragment and thought it would look rather nice on her coffin.

Head of the Anthropoid Coffin of Heribsenes. Provenance unknown. Late Period, Dynasty 26, c. 664-525 BCE. Acc. No.: 33.5

It’s not known where it was found, but it is now in the Met Museum, acc. no.: 33.5

See it on my photo site: https://photos.talesfromthetwolands.org/picture.php?/949/category/6

Jigsaw Puzzles:
easier: https://www.jigsawplanet.com/?rc=play&pid=37b16342bb5d
harder: https://www.jigsawplanet.com/?rc=play&pid=0f08432526b5

Inner Coffin of Ankhshepenwepet

This is a close up of the front of the coffin of a woman called Ankhshepenwepet who lived during the second half of the 25th Dynasty, around 2500 years ago. She was buried in the temple grounds of Hatshepsut’s temple at Deir el Bahri, and her tomb was robbed in antiquity.

Around the middle you can see the deceased being led from the far right of the photo towards several divine beings. Thoth leads Ankhshepenwepet away from the weighing of the heart, which you can just see around the right hand side of the coffin as you look at it.

The queue of beings is headed by Osiris with Isis behind him, but I think most of them are the judges from the Hall of the Two Maats. These are the divine beings to whom the negative confessions are addressed as the deceased demonstrates they are worthy to enter the afterlife.

Inner Coffin of Ankhshepenwepet. She was buried in Hatshepsut’s temple at Deir el Bahri. From MMA56, Deir el Bahri, Thebes. Third Intermediate Period, second half of Dynasty 25, 690-656 BCE. Acc. No.: 25.3.202

The coffin is now in the Met Museum, acc. no.: 25.3.202.

See it on my photo site: https://photos.talesfromthetwolands.org/picture.php?/1506/category/6

Jigsaw Puzzles:
easier: https://www.jigsawplanet.com/?rc=play&pid=0b369df1eb39
harder: https://www.jigsawplanet.com/?rc=play&pid=2c9be89548d0

Mummy Board of Henettawy

This is the innermost part of the coffin set of a woman called Henettawy, who was a Chantress of Amun-Ra during the late 21st Dynasty (so about 3000 years ago in the Third Intermediate Period). It’s her mummy board, which sat on top of her mummy inside the inner coffin.

I took this photo of the lower half of it because I found the decoration quite striking particularly in juxtaposition with her other two coffins. They are elaborately decorated with gods etc, as is the top of the mummy board, but the bottom is simple, restrained and elegant.

The red background is represents a red cloth wrapping around the mummy, and over it is depicted a bead net dress. A couple of such dresses have survived (and been restrung), one of which is in the Petrie Museum (see https://www.ucl.ac.uk/culture/petrie-museum/bead-net-dress).

Mummy Board of Henettawy. Henettawy was only 21 when she died, and was buried in a plundered tomb which had previously belonged to one of Hatshepsut’s officals. From MMA59, Deir el Bahri, Thebes. Third Intermediate Period, late Dynasty 21, c.1000-945 BCE. Acc. No.: 25.3.184

It is now in the Met Museum, acc. no.: 25.3.184.

See it on my photo site: https://photos.talesfromthetwolands.org/picture.php?/1546/

I also have a photo of all three parts of the set: https://photos.talesfromthetwolands.org/picture.php?/1551/ and if you go right there are several more photos of the coffins.

Jigsaw Puzzles:
easier: https://www.jigsawplanet.com/?rc=play&pid=1fb3a9efb745
harder: https://www.jigsawplanet.com/?rc=play&pid=1f7ba5be09de

Old Kingdom Wooden Coffin

The words “ancient Egyptian coffin” conjure up images of gold, of intricate decoration & texts, and of human shaped boxes. But this was not always the case, and earlier coffins (like this one which dates to the early Old Kingdom) can be quite a bit less ostentatious & elaborate.

To start with it’s shorter than you might expect – this is because in this period (c. 2500 BCE) people weren’t laid out straight for burial. Instead they were placed in their graves curled up in a contracted position that’s sometimes referred to as the foetal position.

But don’t mistake it for a cheap or shoddy piece of work. Decent wood wasn’t plentiful in ancient Egypt, so a wooden coffin is demonstrating that you can bury a certain amount of wealth. Even given it was local Egyptian tamerisk wood I imagine it would still make a statement.

It’s also shaped to convey meaning. The long sides mimic the palace facade motif, which is part of the king’s iconography and is also used in the funerary context by more than just the king. The lid is vaulted and this is the shape of the shrine associated with Lower Egypt.

Old Kingdom Wooden Coffin. From Tarkhan. Old Kingdom, Dynasty 3-4, c. 2649-2467 BCE. Acc. No.: 12.187.54

This coffin was excavated by Petrie at Tarkhan in the Faiyum and is now in the Met Museum (acc. no.: 12.187.54).

See it on my photo site: https://photos.talesfromthetwolands.org/picture.php?/1370/

Jigsaw Puzzles:
easier: https://www.jigsawplanet.com/?rc=play&pid=3b69d5b42476
harder: https://www.jigsawplanet.com/?rc=play&pid=1487b7dfb59a

Part of the Outer Anthropoid Coffin of Pakherenkhonsu

This is a section from the head end of an anthropoid coffin, and we’re looking at the outer wall. The coffin belonged to a man called Pakherenkhonsu, and it was found in one of the tombs at Thebes (MMA832).

The coffin dates to the 25th Dynasty, however the tomb it was found in was constructed during the 11th Dynasty according to the museum label; wikipedia says 22nd Dynasty which is quite a contradiction! Whichever it is, it’s clear Pakherenkhonsu was re-using someone else’s tomb.

He was a Doorkeeper of the Temple of Amun, a relatively minor part of the temple hierarchy. But nonetheless he must’ve had things worth stealing – his burial was found in a disturbed condition, with his coffins in pieces.

Part of the Outer Anthropoid Coffin of Pakherenkhonsu. Pakherenkhonsu was the Doorkeeper of the Temple of Amun, he was buried in a reused Dynasty 11 tomb. From MMA 832 (Tomb of Aafenmut), Khokha, Thebes. Third Intermediate Period, Dynasty 25, c.712-664 BCE. Acc. No.: 28.3.53

This and other pieces of his coffins are in the Met Museum (this is acc. no.: 28.3.53).

See it on my photo site: https://photos.talesfromthetwolands.org/picture.php?/1497/

Jigsaw Puzzles:
easier: https://www.jigsawplanet.com/?rc=play&pid=243dcfd0e903
harder: https://www.jigsawplanet.com/?rc=play&pid=14f7b833dbb3

The Coffin of the Noble Lady Shep

This coffin belonged to the Noble Lady Shep, and dates to around the 25th or 26th Dynasty (around 2500 years ago). It’s quite a different style to the earlier 21st Dynasty coffins – where they are bright, yellow and busy this one is almost minimalist by comparison!

The scene on the left of her chest (right of the photo) has the Devourer eagerly waiting in front of Osiris. But the scene on the left of the photo shows that she was disappointed – the Noble Lady Shep has passed the Judgement and is escorted by Thoth and Maat to Osiris.

Below these two scenes are, I think, two of the Sons of Horus protecting the deceased. There’s 4 registers of pairs of figures and at the bottom on her feet are two jackals sitting on shrines. Above you can see the bottom of her broad collar necklace and the ends of her wig.

The Coffin of the Noble Lady Shep. Third Intermediate Period-Late Period, Dynasty 25-26, c. 760-525 BCE. Acc. No.: O.C.6B

I don’t think it’s known where the coffin comes from, but it’s now in the Met Museum (acc. no.: O.C.6b). I don’t have a full length photo of it, but there’s one on the museum’s website: https://www.metmuseum.org/art/collection/search/552621

See it on my photo site: https://photos.talesfromthetwolands.org/picture.php?/940

Jigsaw Puzzles:
easier: https://www.jigsawplanet.com/?rc=play&pid=031e7f7d95ba
harder: https://www.jigsawplanet.com/?rc=play&pid=1b0b5bdd195b

Detail from the Outer Coffin of Amenemopet

This is a detail from a 22nd Dynasty coffin, belonging to a man called Amenemopet. The bit in the photo is the back of the inside of the box of the outermost coffin, between the shoulders and the elbows. It’s the typical style of this period: yellow background and lots of detail.

The central mummiform figure is the deified Amenhotep I, his cartouches are just out of frame at the top. He ruled around 600 years before this coffin was made and after his death he became deified as the patron deity of Deir el Medina, and this coffin was found near there.

He’s flanked by two fecundity figures, perhaps representations of the god Hapi as I think I see his name by the point of Amenhotep I’s elbow. They wear tight-fitting garments decorated to indicate water and present platters piled high with food offerings.

There are all sorts of other symbols as well: protective vulture deities up above with shen rings for eternal protection, standards behind the Hapis which have Benu birds sitting on top of them, And many more just in this one section, the whole coffin is covered with decoration!

Detail of the Outer Coffin of Amenemopet. From Sheikh Abd el-Gurna, Western Thebes. Third Intermediate Period, early Dynasty 22, c.975-909 BCE. Acc. No.: 17.2.7a

It was found at Sheikh Abd el-Qurna, and is now in the Met Museum (acc. no.: 17.2.7a).

See it on my photo site: https://photos.talesfromthetwolands.org/picture.php?/1566 and go to the left and right for other photos of this coffin set, I have 9 in total.

To see the whole decorative scheme of the interior of the outer coffin there is this photo from the Met Museum: https://images.metmuseum.org/CRDImages/eg/original/LC-17_2_7a_EGDP026805.jpg See also their site for more information and photos: https://www.metmuseum.org/art/collection/search/544722

Jigsaw Puzzles:
easier: https://www.jigsawplanet.com/?rc=play&pid=39737cac8a40
harder: https://www.jigsawplanet.com/?rc=play&pid=26af4b10c75a