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Anthropoid Coffin of an Amun-priestess

Date: first half of the 10th century B.C.; Third Intermediate Period
Medium: wood, paint, varnish
Dimensions: 186 x 47.5 x 60.5 cm
Classification: tomb equipment
Acquisition Credit: purchased, 1956
Inventory Number: 51.2095/1-2
Department: Egyptian Art

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+Description

Anthropoid Coffin of an Amun-priestess

The Twenty-first Dynasty coffin was made for an unknown priestess of Amun-Re in Karnak. The colour scheme is polychrome on a yellow background. The decoration surface is varnished. The blue wig is adorned by a stylised vulture head-dress flanking the face. The richly decorated wesekh-collar covers the greater part of the upper body down to the line of the hip. The attached wooden hands are opened with palms turned downward, a typical iconographic feature of female coffins of the type. Below the collar, approximately to the line of the knees, horizontal scene bands follow each other. The iconography of the lid is characterised by the dominance of winged protective gods. However, an iconographical pattern with a quite different pictorial arrangement can be observed in the case of the decoration field below the knees. The surface is divided into two symmetrical parts by a text column in the middle. On both sides offering scenes are placed in three panels, each of them equipped with architectorial elements to allow them to imitate the divine chapels as locales of the ritual events. Both sides of the coffin case are bordered by a frieze patterning uraeus-serpents. Below the frieze scene panels follow each other separated by a single text column with a continuously repeated short offering formula invocating Osiris, Isis and Nephthys. The row of scenes running along the sides is strongly damaged. There is every indication that the coffin may have been standing in water for a long time which caused the disappearance of the lower two thirds of the outer decoration on the sides of the case. The inner part of the case is also richly decorated. The central figure of the top of the head is a ba-bird. Only some blurred traces have remained from the decoration of the bottom, from the base of which it can be surmised that it was originally divided into three registers: the narrow upper and lower scene panels flanked a large divine figure in the middle. On both sides in three registers mummy-shaped otherworldly figures line up, facing outwards.