Art/ Collection/ Art Object

Outer Coffin of Tabakmut

Third Intermediate Period
late Dynasty 21
ca. 1000–950 B.C.
From Egypt, Upper Egypt, Thebes, Deir el-Bahri, Tomb MMA 60, Chamber, burial 2 (coffins of Tabakmut), MMA excavations, 1922–24
Wood, paint, gesso
L. 216 cm (85 1/16 in)
Credit Line:
Rogers Fund, 1925
Accession Number:
25.3.10a, b
On view at The Met Fifth Avenue in Gallery 126
Tabakmut was one of the last burials in the main chamber of Tomb MMA 61. His anthropoid coffin set was relatively complete, with this outer coffin, an inner coffin (25.3.11a, b), and a mummy board (25.3.12), but no other burial equipment was included. The ready-made, stock coffins, with their false beards and fisted hands, are of the kind designed for men, and the mummy found inside was that of a male, twenty-five to thirty years old. Tabakmut has no titles and his name is typically female. The use of a woman's name for a man may have been a mistake of the undertakers.

On this coffin, the head is covered with a striated tripartite wig, with a hole under the chin for a now-missing beard. Tabakmut's fisted hands emerge from an elaborate floral collar that covers his shoulders and chest. Below this, scenes relating to the adoration of Osiris fill the lid. The name of the deceased was added in blue over the varnish in the two vertical inscriptions that run down the legs. On the sides of the box are scenes related to the gods of the Netherworld.

The decoration inside the coffin is on a background of deep red, with the details of the figures varnished. In the center, flanked by three symmetrical rows of mummiform deities, is the goddess of the West protected by uraeus cobras. On the interior top of the coffin is a human-headed ba bird with its wings outstretched.
Museum excavations 1923–24. Acquired by the Museum in the division of finds, 1925.

Winlock, Herbert E. 1924. "The Egyptian Expedition 1923–1924: The Museum's Excavations at Thebes." In The Metropolitan Museum of Art Bulletin, vol. 19, no. 12 (December, Supplement), p. 28.

Jansen-Winkeln, Karl 2007. Inschriften der Spätzeit, Teil I: Die 21. Dynastie. Wiesbaden: Harrassowitz Verlag, p. 246, cat. 11.115.

Aston, David 2009. Burial Assemblages of Dynasty 21–25: Chronology – Typology – Developments. Contributions to the chronology of the Eastern Mediterranean, vol. 21, Denkschriften der Gesamtakademie, 56. Vienna: Verlag der Österreichischen Akademie der Wissenschaften, p. 201.

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