Sarcophagus of a queen, Dyn. 18

Sarcophagus of a queen, Dyn. 18
Period:Egypt, New Kingdom, Dynasty 18
Dating:1570 BC–1293 BC
Origin:Egypt, Upper Egypt, Thebes
Material:Wood (undetermined)
Physical:74cm. (28.9 in.) -

Links to other views:

⇒ Larger View
⇒ Full view
⇒ Bust view
⇒ Close up 1 (chest)
⇒ Anubis (detail)
if scripting is off, click the ⇒ instead.

• • •

Links to others from Dynasty 18

Alabaster unguent jar, Dyn. 18
Alabaster unguent vase, Dyn. 18
Amenhotep III as Amun-Min, Dyn 18
Amulet of Bes, Dyn. 18
Amulet of god Thoth as a Baboon, Dyn. 18
Anthropomorphic mirror handle, Dyn. 18
Basalt shawabti of a king, early Dyn. 18
Blue faience ring, udjat eye, Dyn. 18
Blue faience shawabti, Dyn.18
Bronze Horus sarcophagus, Dyn.18
Bronze insigna-pendant of Atum, Dyn. 18
Bronze of a king as Osiris, Dyn. 18
Bronze of Sakhmet seated, early Dyn. 18
Bronze statuette of Apis, Dyn. 18
Cartonnage of Princess Baket, Dyn. 18
Cartouche ring of Akhenaten, Dyn. 18
Carved face from a sarcophagus, Dyn. 18
Carved face from a sarcophagus, N.K.
Copper inlay for a box, Dyn. 18
Divine scarab, reign of Thutmose IV
Enameled feathers of Amun, Dyn. 18
Extensible bronze bracelet, Dyn. 18
Faience ear ornament, Dyn. 18
Foundation marker from Amenhotep III
Funerary box (panel), Dyn. 18-33
Gilded ib, heart amulet, Dyn.18
Gilded mkrt, snake amulet, Dyn. 18
Gilded ‘tit’ (girdle of Isis) amulet, Dyn. 18
Granite cartouche of Akhenaten, Dyn. 18
Head, realistic portrait in stone, Dyn 18
Horus-the-Child as a ruling king, Dyn. 18
Ibis-headed Thoth with human body, Dyn.18
King Amenhotep II (?) as Amun-Re, Dyn. 18
King Horemheb as a sphinx, Dyn. 18
King Horemheb as Amun-Re, Dyn. 18
King wearing the royal headdress, Dyn. 18
Limestone shawabti, early Dyn. 18
Lotus necklace terminal, Egypt, Dyn. 18
Monumental bronze feather, Dyn. 18
Mummy mask of a young woman, Dyn. 18
Nekhbet, vulture-goddess of Nekheb
New Year’s flask for sacred water, Dyn.18
Osiris, King of the Afterlife, Dyn. 18
Osiris of an unknown king, Dyn. 18 (?)
Osiris-Neper, god of agriculture, Dyn. 18
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
Queen as Goddess Mut, Dyn.18
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
Royal wooden sarcophagus lid, Dyn. 18
Sakhmet amulet pendant, Dyn. 18
Sarcophagus of a king, Dyn. 18
Scarab “begets the existence of Amun”
Scarab of protection, 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
Scarab of Thutmose III, Dyn. 18
Scarab of Thutmose III, Dyn. 18
Scarab with Amun-Re, solar discs, Dyn. 18
Scarab with ‘Ba’, Dyn. 18
Scarab with “faith in Justice,” Dyn. 18
Scarab with Goddess Hathor
Scarab with Horus of the Horizon, Dyn. 18
Scarab with ‘nsw-bity’, Dyn. 18
Scarab with ‘sa’ singing birds, Dyn. 18
Shawabti of Amen, vizier of Amenhotep III
Shawabti of Queen Mutemwia. Dyn.18
Signet-ring of Tutankhamun, Dyn. 18
Statuette of a privileged man, Dyn. 18
Stone bust of a scribe, Dyn. 18
Stone shawabti of a Nubian viceroy, Dyn. 18
Stone statue of King Thutmose III, Dyn. 18
Two cobras from the queen’s crown
Udjat eye amulet-pendant, Dyn. 18
Uninscribed wooden shawabti, Dyn. 18
Uraeus from a royal crown, Dyn. 18
Wood statue of King Smenkhkare, Dyn. 18
Wooden sarcophagus lid, Dyn. 18
Wooden sarcophagus lid, Dyn.18
Wooden sarcophagus lid, Dyn. 18

Links to others of type Coffin/sarcophagus lid

Carved face from a sarcophagus, N.K.
Face from a sarcophagus lid, Dyn. 26
Head of a sarcophagus lid, 590-350 BC
Royal wooden sarcophagus lid, Dyn. 18
Sarcophagus of a king, Dyn. 18
Wooden sarcophagus lid, circa 650 BC
Wooden sarcophagus lid, Dyn. 18
Wooden sarcophagus lid, Dyn.18
Wooden sarcophagus lid, Dyn. 18
  This upper part of a sarcophagus displays the portrait of a young queen of the New Kingdom, Dynasty 18. A magnificent Inpw (Anubis as a jackal), “he who is over the secrets,” rests upon a column of secret words.

The smooth gesso (plaster and glue) applied to the wood was delicately decorated with gold leaf and painted motifs typical of the finest years of Dynasty 18.

The hieroglyphs start: “Give her rest to the queen of Upper Egypt, protected by the Two Sunshades hp wy accompanying the king, both inscribed (?) Wast (Thebes). . . ” but the remainder of the text—including the name of the queen—was lost when unscrupulous tomb raiders sawed off the lower part of the sarcophagus to make the most marketable part (the mask) easier to transport. Sadly, we will never know her identity and, according to Egyptian beliefs, unless someone pronounces her name, she loses the eternal life she hoped for. Although this woman will remain unidentified, we can tell from the remaining hieroglyphs and the ornate vulture headdress that she wears over her wig that she was the royal spouse of a king.

“One of the oldest items of queenly insignia is the vulture headdress, a close-fitting cap formed from the body of a vulture with the two wings of the bird spread against the sides of the wearer’s head, while the head of the vulture just forward from the wearer’s forehead... From the fifth Dynasty it was also depicted as an item of queenly insignia, and from then on it was worn by queens throughout pharaonic history” (Robins 1993:23).

She was lovingly prepared for an eternal voyage, only to be rudely ended by the greed of looters. So beautiful indeed is this young queen, with such a fascinating presence, that it is difficult not to mourn for her loss.

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).

Dynasty 18
In many ways, Dynasty 18 could be viewed as the golden age of the Egyptian Civilization. Spanning almost 280 years (1570-1293 BC), it ushered in the New Kingdom by a return to a powerful, monolithic Egyptian nation unified by a heavily centralized government under the undivided control of the king.

Egypt’s dominions expanded to include territory rife with natural resources; this wealth of resources fueled Egypt’s economy to unprecedented levels; the economic activity prompted the development of international trade and diplomacy; cultural and technological exchanges, together with spreading wealth, yielded a blossoming of the arts, and a widespread refinement of the Egyptian culture.

It would be unfair, if not untrue, to suggest that the achievements of Dynasty 18 were greater than those of, say, Dynasty 12 in the Middle Kingdom, or Dynasty 3 in the Old Kingdom. But the sheer volume of exquisite material goods produced and preserved from that period, the tantalizing political intrigues and mysteries of its controversial monarchs (such as Queen Hatshepsut and King Akhenaten), and the comparatively extensive written record (both from within and without Egypt), cannot help but make Egypt’s Dynasty 18 a most fascinating period of human history.

Founded by King Ahmose, who reclaimed the Delta from the Hyksos, Dynasty 18 saw some of the most enlightened monarchs of Egypt’s history. Blending the unwavering projection of military power with the development of social policies and the shepherding of culture, they left an indelible mark on their civilization. After a long period of prosperity and stability under a succession of kings named Tuthmosis and Amenhotep (and the great queen Hatshepsut), the dynasty stumbled when Amenhotep IV attempted to change just about everything about Egyptian culture: under his new name Akhenaten, he left the old capital and built a new one, abandoned Egypt’s traditional gods and created a new monotheistic cult, abandoned Egypt’s established artistic conventions and fostered a new, disturbingly realistic, aesthetic canon. Too much, too fast, Akhenaten’s reforms were soon undone. His capital was abandoned, his monuments destroyed, and records of his reign meticulously expunged. Turning a new page, his successor Tutankhaten soon changed his name to Tutankhamun. The Dynasty never regained its luster, and soon made way for a new line of rulers emerging from the ranks of the military: the Ramessids.

Bibliography (for this item)

American Research Center in Egypt,
1979 The Luxor Museum of Ancient Egyptian Art: Catalogue. American Research Center in Egypt, Cairo, Egypt.

Budge, E. A. Wallis, Sir
1978 Egyptian Hieroglyphic Dictionary (Originally published in 1920). Dover Publications, New York, NY. (

Eydoux, Henri-Paul
1964 Les grandes dames de l’archéologie. Plon, Paris, France. (
18 )

Gauthier, Henri
1912 Le livre des rois d’Egypte. Tome 2: de la XIIIe à la fin de la XVIIIe dynastie. Institut Français d’Archeologie Orientale, Cairo, Egypt. (

James, T. G. H., and W. V. Davies
1983 Egyptian Sculpture. Harvard University Press, Cambridge, MA.

Michalowski, Kazimierz
1968 L’art de l’ancienne Egypte. Editions d’art Lucien Mazenod, Paris, France.

Robins, Gay
1993 Women in Ancient Egypt. Harvard University Press, Cambridge, MA. (22-55)

Tiradritti, Francesco
1998 Egyptian Treasures from the Egyptian Museum in Cairo. White Star Publishers, Vercelli, Italy. (

Bibliography (on Sarcophagus)

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

©2004 CIWA, All rights reserved.