Art/ Collection/ Art Object

Outer Coffin of Iotefamun

Third Intermediate Period
Dynasty 21
ca. 1070–945 B.C.
From Egypt, Upper Egypt, Thebes, Southern Asasif, Tomb MMA 1008 (Pit 1016), MMA excavations, 1920–21
Wood, gesso, paint
L. 198.5 cm (78 1/8 in.)
Credit Line:
Rogers Fund, 1926
Accession Number:
26.3.1a, b
On view at The Met Fifth Avenue in Gallery 130
The coffin set of the General's Charioteer, Iotefamun (this outer coffin, with an inner coffin (26.3.2a, b), and a mummy board (26.3.3)) was found in a reused tomb, where earlier burials had been robbed and pushed aside. Iotefamun's coffins were set against one wall, with his canopic box resting on the lid of the outer coffin. The lid of this coffin was not completely closed, as the inner coffin, made originally for a priest and copper engraver of the temple named Nesiamun, was slightly too large. Inside the coffin set was the mummy, which had been wrapped in linen and then covered from waist to feet with a soft hide, perhaps from a gazelle, and a whip (26.3.2a, b)

The style of this anthropoid coffin is typical of the earlier 21st Dynasty. Iotefamun wears a long tripartite wig bound with a floral fillet. His features are fine, with arched brows and long cosmetic lines outlining his wide-set eyes. Earring holes are visible on his exposed earlobes. His arms are crossed over his chest on top of a broad festival collar, with his hands fisted. A winged figure of the sky goddess Nut is shown kneeling at the level of his abdomen, with the space above filled by the icon of a djed pillar, symbol of the funerary god Osiris, flanked by crowned falcons, winged cobras, and recumbent cows. The lower portion of the lid is divided by horizontal and vertical bands of inscription into six sections, each filled with an illustration relating to Iotefamun's afterlife. On the sides of the base, again divided by inscriptions, are various funerary deities. The inside is undecorated. Unusually for this period, the outer surface of this coffin has not been varnished.
Excavated by the Egyptian Expedition of the Metropolitan Museum of Art in the Southern Asasif, 1921. Allotted to the Museum by the Egyptian Government in the division of finds.

Glubok, Shirley 1962. The Art of Ancient Egypt. New York: Atheneum, p. 14.

Jansen-Winkeln, Karl 2007. Inschriften der Spätzeit, Teil I: Die 21. Dynastie. Wiesbaden: Harrassowitz Verlag, p. 247, cat. 11.119.

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. 232.

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