Painted Wooden Coffin, Wood, gesso, paint, varnish

Painted Wooden Coffin

Third Intermediate Period
Dynasty 21
ca. 1070–945 B.C.
From Egypt, Upper Egypt, Thebes
Wood, gesso, paint, varnish
L. 188.3 cm (74 1/8 in)
Credit Line:
Gift of James Douglas, 1890
Accession Number:
90.6.120a, b
On view at The Met Fifth Avenue in Gallery 130
This coffin was not commissioned by a specific individual, but was made for general sale and was never inscribed for its eventual owner. Its inscriptions and decoration are of a type very common in Thebes during the late 21st and 22nd Dynasties, and the whole was intended to have a lavish effect. The details of the enormous necklace that extends from the shoulders, covers the arms, and fall to the tops of the thighs were painted with care, and the shiny varnish applied over the yellow background of the coffin and the raised red and blue spots were meant to suggest the shimmer of gold and precious stones. The exposed hands hold cylindrical objects that would, in real examples, have held documents. The red bands hung around the neck represent mummy braces (see for actual examples 22.3.306a, b), which are characteristic of this period. The scenes covering the lower part of the body show the deceased with various gods. It has been suggested that the box does not go with the lid.
Collection of Dr. James Douglas, Quebec City. This piece was probably acquired between 1851–1865, when he is known to have traveled and collected in Egypt. Donated to the Museum by his son James S. Douglas, 1890.