Coffin of Ameny

Middle Kingdom

On view at The Met Fifth Avenue in Gallery 109

The owner of this coffin Ameny is simply designated as the "son of a member of the elite" in the inscription on the lid. On the evidence of his mummy - now in the Peabody Museum, Cambridge - he was already an old man when he died. The inscription on the lid also begs the god Anubis, "Lord of Sepa," to allow the deceased to "cross the sky, be interred, and ascend to the Great God, Lord of Heaven." The painted decoration on the coffin box with its series of doorways surrounded by intricately enhanced niches and other architectural elements evokes associations with the Egyptian idea of the "false door," a symbolic passage through which the deceased could exit spiritually from his resting place in the tomb - or here the coffin - to receive offerings. The eyes above one of the doorways corresponded with the eyes of the mummy that originally lay on its side within the coffin. The eyes are composed of elements of human eyes and the feathering around the eyes of falcons (wedjat eye). The wedjat element here thus combined protective forces with the idea of an opening through which the deceased could communicate with the outside world and see the sun rising in the east.

Coffin of Ameny, wood, paint

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