Royal wooden sarcophagus lid, Dyn. 18

Royal wooden sarcophagus lid, Dyn. 18
Period:Egypt, New Kingdom, Dynasty 18
Dating:1500 BC–1380 BC
Origin:Egypt, Upper Egypt, Thebes
Material:Wood (undetermined)
Physical:62cm. (24.2 in.) -

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Links to others from Dynasty 18

Alabaster unguent jar, Dyn. 18
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Amenhotep III as Amun-Min, Dyn 18
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Amulet of god Thoth as a Baboon, Dyn. 18
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Bronze of a king as Osiris, Dyn. 18
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Cartonnage of Princess Baket, Dyn. 18
Cartouche ring of Akhenaten, Dyn. 18
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Carved face from a sarcophagus, N.K.
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Divine scarab, reign of Thutmose IV
Enameled feathers of Amun, Dyn. 18
Extensible bronze bracelet, Dyn. 18
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Head, realistic portrait in stone, Dyn 18
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King Amenhotep II (?) as Amun-Re, Dyn. 18
King Horemheb as a sphinx, Dyn. 18
King Horemheb as Amun-Re, Dyn. 18
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Limestone shawabti, early Dyn. 18
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Monumental bronze feather, Dyn. 18
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Pair of udjat eyes of Horus, Dyn. 18
Palm leaf amulet, Dyn. 18-19
Palm leaf amulet, Dyn. 18-19
Pillar capital, Hathor, Dyn. 18
Polychrome glass cup, Dyn 18
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Queen Hatshepsut as Goddess Mut, Dyn. 18
Queen Hatshepsut as Hathor, Dyn. 18
Queen Isis as Isis nursing Thutmose III
Royal situla, sacred water vessel, Dyn.18
Sakhmet amulet pendant, Dyn. 18
Sarcophagus of a king, Dyn. 18
Sarcophagus of a queen, Dyn. 18
Scarab “begets the existence of Amun”
Scarab of protection, Dyn. 18
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Scarab of Thutmose III, Dyn. 18
Scarab of Thutmose III, Dyn. 18
Scarab of Thutmose III, Dyn. 18
Scarab of Thutmose III, Dyn. 18
Scarab of Thutmose III, Dyn. 18
Scarab of Thutmose III, Dyn. 18
Scarab of Thutmose III, Dyn. 18
Scarab of Thutmose III, Dyn. 18
Scarab of Thutmose III, Dyn. 18
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Wooden sarcophagus lid, Dyn. 18
Wooden sarcophagus lid, Dyn.18
Wooden sarcophagus lid, Dyn. 18

Links to others of type Coffin/sarcophagus lid

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Wooden sarcophagus lid, Dyn. 18
Wooden sarcophagus lid, Dyn.18
Wooden sarcophagus lid, Dyn. 18
  This is the upper section of a sarcophagus lid. It was carved out of wood, then gessoed and painted. The eyes and brows are inlaid. The Osirian beard is incised.

Atop the headdress, stretches Goddess Nephtys, seated upon the sign nwb (“gold”), extending her exquisitely detailed wings in protection of the defunct.
“The sarcophagus chamber in the royal tomb was known as the ‘house of gold,’ while at the ends of sarcophagi or coffins Isis and Nephthys were often shown kneeling on the hieroglyphic sign for gold (nebw). . . .Nephthys was a protector of the dead, and on New-Kingdom royal sarcophagi she was depicted on the external northern wall (next to the head of the deceased), while Isis was portrayed at the southern end, by the feet” (Shaw & Nicholson 1995:114, 201).

Beneath Nephtys, the hieroglyphic text is laid out in three short columns on either side of the nwb sign, plus two or more long horizontal registers (only one of which remains). Khalil (1976:[1]247) translated the three vertical registers to the left, which read top to bottom, and right to left as: “Royal offering given by Osiris-Sokar, the god who is in the heart and the face of the land of the White Crown, give him all offerings to rest in peace in the land of the supreme authority” (htp di nsw di wsir skr ntr imy hr ib ta hdt nsw di f htpw nbw htp htpw ta hrp).

The face of the defunct, exuding youth and beauty, offers a serene, enigmatic smile. The chin line is highlighted by an unusually prominent marking of the attachment strap for the ceremonial Osirian beard. Once completed, this piece appears to have been smeared with a red pigment, possibly in a ritual involving the blood of a sacrificed animal.

This sarcophagus is most probably the fruit of that extraordinary period, during the reigns of Hatshepsut, Thotmes III and Amenhotep III, when Egyptian craftsmen expressed their art with supreme subtlety, and captured the essence of charm and beauty with unprecedented success. There are striking stylistic similarities between the portrait displayed here, and the face of the gilded wooden coffin of Thuya, mother of Queen Tiy (now in the Cairo Museum).

Sadly, the rest of the sarcophagus, which would have provided the identity of its owner, was probably discarded as superfluous cargo by unscrupulous tomb raiders.

Sarcophagus is a Greek term used in Egyptology to designate a container made to protect a mummified body (the term literally means “body eater”). Although we are guilty here of using the term loosely, the generally accepted convention today is to use ‘sarcophagus’ for a stone container, and ‘coffin’ for a wooden or metal container.

Initially, Egyptian coffins were rectangular (sometimes with arched tops). They were decorated with symbolically charged motifs and ritual texts. Around Dynasty 12 (Middle Kingdom) appeared the first anthropomorphic coffins, which followed the general shape of the human body. By the New Kingdom, royal burial sets had become very elaborate: “The mummy. . . lay in three mummiform coffins; the innermost is made of solid gold, and the other two of wood covered with sheet gold. . . [the] set of anthropomorphic coffins was laid into a rectangular or cartouche-shaped sarcophagus, which in turn was surrounded by several chapel-like wooden structures. . .” (Redford 2001:[1]283).

Bibliography (for this item)

Clayton, Peter A.
1994 Chronicle of the Pharaohs: The Reign-by-Reign Record of the Rulers and Dynasties of Ancient Egypt. Thames and Hudson, London, UK. (116)

Khalil, Hassan M.
1976 Preliminary Studies on the Sanusret Collection. Manuscript, Musée l’Egypte et le Monde Antique, Monaco-Ville, Monaco. ((I) 247)

Shaw, Ian, and Paul Nicholson
1995 The Dictionary of Ancient Egypt. British Museum Press, London, United Kingdom. (201)

Bibliography (on Sarcophagus)

Redford, Donald B.
2001 Oxford Encyclopedia of Ancient Egypt. Oxford University Press, London. (283)

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