Lid of a Child's Coffin

16758783-1999_001_006B_A-pa_ARC.tif

Title

Lid of a Child's Coffin

Date

722-525 BC

Context

Late Period, Dynasty 25 - Dynasty 26
Egypt
Egyptian

Medium/Dimensions

Coniferous wood, pigment, gesso
17 11/16 x 51 3/16 x 10 in. (44.9 x 130 x 25.4 cm)

Object Number

1999.001.006 B

Description

This finely crafted coffin contains the mummy of a child, approximately two years of age. Although the cause of death cannot be determined, this mummy does have one very interesting feature, or lack thereof: the legs of the mummy are missing just below the knees, and the absence of any signs of healing suggests that the damage was postmortem.

The sparse, simple ornamentation of the coffin highlights the beautifully grained wood. Only the face, wig, and floral collar are painted, with a single column of text running the length of the coffin. The heavy features and broad face are characteristic of the Twenty-fifth, or Nubian, Dynasty, though the minimal decoration suggests that this coffin may have come from the Twenty-sixth Dynasty. The elegant figure painted inside the base represents one of the goddesses charged with protecting the deceased-perhaps Nut, Hathor, or the Goddess of the West. The preparation of the mummy offers further evidence of a date in the Twenty-fifth or Twenty-sixth Dynasty. The wide band of red linen vertically encircling the mummy is a distinctive feature of wrappings during this period. In many cases, the mummy was completely covered by a red shroud or a sheet with red borders.

The truncated proportions of the coffin, along with the rarity of coffins constructed specifically for children, suggest that the child within was not the intended occupant. The bottom of the coffin was cut off and a new foot added in a rather makeshift manner, effectively "downsizing" the coffin for a child. The inscription, identifying the owner and requesting offerings for his sustenance in the afterlife, was clearly added after the coffin was reworked, since it extends onto the replacement foot.

High mortality rates among infants and children in ancient Egypt meant that few families were financially able to provide a coffin for every child they buried. This fact, combined with the quality of the coffin, indicate that the deceased, a boy named Hori, belonged to a family of some status.

Credit Line

Charlotte Lichirie Collection of Egyptian Art

Exhibits/Publications

Mary Brogan Museum of Art and Science, Tallahassee, Florida, August 22 - November 27, 2005|
Napoleon in Egypt, Museum of Arts and Sciences, Macon, Georgia, January 13 - March 26, 2006
Peter Lacovara, "The New Galleries of Egyptian and Near Eastern Art at the Michael C. Carlos Museum," Minerva 12 (2001), 9-16.|
Peter Lacovara and Betsy Teasley Trope, The Realm of Osiris (Atlanta: Michael C. Carlos Museum, 2001), 55.

Rights

© Michael C. Carlos Museum, Emory University. Photo by Peter Harholdt.
This image is provided by the Michael C. Carlos Museum of Emory University, who retains all rights in it. This image is made available for limited non-commercial, educational, and personal use only, or for fair use as defined by United States law. For all other uses, please contact the Michael C. Carlos Museum Office of Collections Services at +1(404) 727-4282 or mccm.collections.services@emory.edu. Users must cite the author and source of the image as they would material from any printed work, but not in any way that implies endorsement of the user or the user's use of the image. Users may not remove any copyright, trademark, or other proprietary notices, including without limitation attribution information, credits, and copyright notices that have been placed on or near the image by the Museum. The Museum assumes no responsibility for royalties or fees claimed by the artist or third parties. The User agrees to indemnify and hold harmless Emory University, its Michael C. Carlos Museum, its agents, employees, faculty members, students and trustees from and against any and all claims, losses, actions, damages, expenses, and all other liabilities, including but not limited to attorney’s fees, directly or indirectly arising out of or resulting from its use of photographic images for which permission is granted hereunder.

On View

No

Citation

“Lid of a Child's Coffin,” Michael C. Carlos Museum Collections Online, accessed December 11, 2018, http://carlos.digitalscholarship.emory.edu/items/show/7110.

Social Bookmarking

Embed

Copy the code below into your web page