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Ancient Egyptian Culture, Mummies, Statues, Burial Practices and Artefacts

Ancient Egypt from the Ptolemaic period, starting in 305 BC, to its decline as a Roman Province



 hor coffin
Coffin of Hor.

Wood, site Achim; 305 BC - 030 BC Ptolemaic Dynasty, the last Dynasty of Ancient Egypt.

(Note that apart from the painted face, the rest of the coffin lid has been carved and engraved rather than painted - Don )

Photo: Don Hitchcock 2014
Source and text: Original, Rijksmuseum van Oudheden, National Museum of Antiquities, Leiden.




 hor coffin  hor coffin
Coffin of Hor.

Wood, site Achim; 305 BC - 030 BC Ptolemaic Dynasty, the last Dynasty of Ancient Egypt.

Photo: http://www.rmo.nl/collectie/zoeken?object=AdS+2
Source and text: Original, Rijksmuseum van Oudheden, National Museum of Antiquities, Leiden.




Mummy  of Hor Mummy  of Hor
Mummy of Hor.

Mummies from the Greek era often have loose masks and panels of cartonnage (layers of linen or papyrus covered with plaster)

Wood, Mummy, linen; site Achim; 305 BC - 030 BC Ptolemaic Dynasty, the last Dynasty of Ancient Egypt.

Mummy of an adult, very heavy and hard and displaying well-defined anatomical details (e.g. the calves). The bandages are applied in close concentric windings with a considerable overlap and an exposed part of no more than 2-4 cm wide. On the front part of the mummy, the wrappings are stained black due to the application of resin.

The linen is a medium-fine warp-faced tabby weave (about 24 x 12 threads/cm2). Several elements made of cartonnage (stucco and linen), much damaged and badly restored, lie on top of the wrappings. These comprise the following items, painted in red, blue, green, yellow, and black on white:

- mask: face and ears gilt, lips red, eyes and brows black and white, row of black dots along the forehead. Blue semicircle surrounded by border with radial lines under the chin, presumably depicting a beard. Tripartite wig blue with a red and white border. There are nine horizontal ranges of a necklace between the front lappets: a succession of tabs, roundels, and petals, with drops below. The crown of the head has been decorated with a winged scarab (black with yellow lines, wings with three zones: red hatching, white, and black feathers) surmounted by a sun disk (red).


- torso cover of tapering shape: Six sections from top to bottom, separated by block friezes: ba, facing right with wings spread out and claws holding disks, flanked by the two falcon-headed clasps of the collar and two kneeling goddesses with one hand raised; collar with eleven semicircular ranges of roundels, petals, and tabs with drops below; kneeling goddess, facing right, with hands holding feathers and extended wings, a disk on the head, and flanked by uraeus serpents and wedjat eyes; mummy on bier, flanked by two kneeling goddesses, with six vases below; five squatting demons with knives, all human-headed; serekh pattern. The last three sections are flanked by side-strips showing the four Sons of Horus, all human-headed.

- leg cover: slightly tapering panel with rounded end and four successive sections, separated by block friezes. From top to bottom: mummy on bier, wings above, flanked by two mummiform figures (jackal-headed left, falcon-headed right) and two kneeling goddesses, eight vases below; seven squatting demons holding knives (various heads); five bulls recumbent on shrines; twenty ranges of roundels, petals, and tabs, surrounded by a border of triangular petals and with a central column for inscriptions (blank).

- foot cover: top with eight squatting gods; two red feet, outlines and sandal straps white, nails gilt; block frieze around the sides, soles showing sandals with mosaic pattern in red, blue, and white.

Photo (left): Don Hitchcock 2014
Photo (right): http://www.rmo.nl/collectie/zoeken?object=AdS+1
Source and text: Original, Rijksmuseum van Oudheden, National Museum of Antiquities, Leiden.




long coffin
Painted wooden coffin of Ankh-hap, also known as Hapiankh.

Ptolemaic Period, 305 BC - 030 BC, probably from Thebes / Luxor.

The coffin was made for the temple singer Ankh-hap, son of Djehuty-maa and Tadineferhotep. Ankh-hap's mummy is that of a young man. A pair of bronze cymbals lay on it when it was discovered.


It consists of a painted wooden baseboard and vaulted cover of the wooden coffin of Hapiankh, Doorkeeper of Amun. The rectangular baseboard is painted white on the interior and decorated with a full-length representation of Nut in red outline; the cover is rectangular with a vaulted top and four corner posts, covered with stucco and brightly decorated.

One gable end is decorated with a winged solar disc and wedjat-eyes, the sides are decorated with three horizontal registers of hieroglyphs, the top is decorated with, on one side, a funerary boat, towed by jackals, which conveys the mummified body of the deceased through the underworld, with canopic jars beneath the bier, and the four Sons of Horus behind.

Baboons greet the cortege and, on the other side, a boat transports the standard of Abydos with Horus and Thoth, Maat looks out from the prow, Amentet is represented, standing with the deceased, on both sides.

These scenes are surrounded by registers of text, with a central register along the top; this coffin contained the mummy 6711 when it entered the collection.

Catalog: EA6710
Photo: Don Hitchcock 2015
Source: Original, British Museum
Text: http://www.britishmuseum.org, card with the display at the British Museum, © Trustees of the British Museum




long coffinlong coffin



Painted wooden coffin of Horsanakht.

Ptolemaic Period, 305 - 030 BC, from Kharga Oasis.

The proportions of this coffin, with large wig, high shoulders, and broad pedestal, are characteristic of the Ptolemeaic Period.

The breast is decorated with a very large collar with falcon-head terminals. Below this is the winged goddess Nut, the mummy on a bier tended by Anubis, and a series of protective deities. The hieratic text has been crudely inserted into a space left blank for this purpose by the painter.

Catalog: EA52949
Photo: Don Hitchcock 2015
Source: Original, British Museum
Text: Card with the display at the British Museum, © Trustees of the British Museum




Horsanakht

Painted wooden coffin of Horsanakht, close up.

Catalog: EA52949
Photo: Don Hitchcock 2015
Source: Original, British Museum




Egypt


Coffin of Diptah

The carving of the dead man has a golden face, a sign of divinity.

Wood; site Achim; 300-250 BC, Ptolemaic Dynasty.

Photo: Don Hitchcock 2014
Source: Original, Rijksmuseum van Oudheden, National Museum of Antiquities, Leiden.




Egypt
Coffin of Diptah, close up.

Photo: © Michiel 2005, http://www.ipernity.com/doc/288839/18779683




Egypt
Painted wooden coffin and mummy of Djedhor

Ptolemaic Period, about 250 BC, from Akhmim. The outer wrappings of this mummy have been carefully coated with a black substance, which has been identified chemically as asphalt from the Dead Sea. This supports statements of classical historians such as Diodorus Siculus and Strabo (1st Century AD) that Dead Sea asphalt was exported to Egypt for use in mummification.


djedhor
Over this black coating have been placed a gilded mask and a group of painted cartonnage plaques, representing the goddess Nut with outstretched wings, the Sons of Horus, Isis and Nephthys and other deities. Since most of these figures are duplicated, it is possible that some of them were originally made for another mummy. CAT scans of the mummy show that the skeleton, that of an adult man, is in good condition.


djedhor
The arms are crossed on the breast. Damage to the nasal area is visible, indicating that the brain was removed via this orifice. Solidified fluid, probably resin, lies in the back of the skull, and artificial eyes are visible in the orbits. The chest and abdominal cavities appear empty, but an object - perhaps a rolled papyrus - lies between the legs.

Catalog: EA 29776
Photo: Don Hitchcock 2015
Source: Original, British Museum
Text: Card in museum, © Trustees of the British Museum




djedhor




View of the painted wooden coffin and mummy of Djedhor from above.

This image allows us to see clearly the duplicated figures of the goddess Nut and other deities, possibly originally made for another mummy.

Catalog: EA 29776
Photo: © Trustees of the British Museum
Source: Original, British Museum




djedhor
Bronze hypocephalus of Djedhor.

From Abydos, cemetery G, tomb of Djedhor.

Note the four-headed Ram of Mendes adored by baboons, as well as the barques. Diameter 20 cm.

These inscribed discs, usually of plastered linen and less frequently of papyrus or bronze, were placed beneath the heads of mummies during the Late Period and the Ptolemaic era. The texts written on them are taken from spell 162 of the Book of the Dead, and were intended to provide life-giving heat to ensure the resurrection of the dead. Images of deities connected with the notions of creative power and renewed life supplemented the potency of the texts.

Catalog: EA 37330
Photo: Don Hitchcock 2015
Source: Original, British Museum
Text: Card in museum, http://www.britishmuseum.org/ , © Trustees of the British Museum




hypocephalus
Stuccoed linen hypocephalus decorated with four painted registers of universal deities surrounded by a border of Hieroglyphs.

Ptolemaic period, 305 BC - 30 BC, probably from Thebes / Luxor. Diameter 212 mm.

( note that this hypocephalus is almost identical to the one of Neshorpakhered shown below. It has almost exactly the same design elements, and clearly came from the same tradition and time period, and possibly even from the same workshop, although it is of inferior artistic quality - Don )

Catalog: EA35875
Photo: Don Hitchcock 2015
Source: Original, British Museum
Text: Card in museum, http://www.britishmuseum.org/, © Trustees of the British Museum


hypocephalus
Hypocephalus of Neshorpakhered, 140 mm diameter.

Ptolemaic (?) Late Period (?), Thebes / Luxor, plaster/linen, Fourth to Third century BC.

At the top is a two-headed deity in human form who holds a sceptre in which is the image of the jacekal-headed god Wepwawet. Two gods appear in boats: on the left is a falcon with outspread wings, and on the right is a mummiform falcon-headed figure clearly recognisable as the sun god wearing the solar disc as his headdress. The scarab beetle, another manifestation of the sun, is depicted in front of him.

In the next register the god Amun Ra is depicted as a mummiform deity with four ram-heads, adored by pairs of baboons. Rotating the disc 180 degrees, one faces another scene, in which a cow is the principal figure, facing the Four Sons of Horus and a scarab beetle. The cow, at least, can be clearly related to spell 162 of 'The Book of the Dead', which is put in the mouth of an 'ihet' cow, there described as the mother of Ra. Behind the cow is a female figure whose head is the 'wedjat' eye within a disc, and a seated figure with upraised arm who faces a serpent with human legs. This part of the object is partly damaged.

Catalog: EA36188
Photo: Google Arts and Culture Project, https://www.google.com/, © Trustees of the British Museum
Source: Original, British Museum
Text: http://www.britishmuseum.org/, © Trustees of the British Museum


Hornedjitef



The lid of the outer wooden coffin of Hornedjitef, son of Nekhthorheb, who held a large number of priestly offices.

Reign of Ptolomy III, 246 BC - 222 BC. From Asasif, Thebes / Luxor.

Catalog: EA6677
Photo: Don Hitchcock 2015
Source: Original, British Museum
Text: http://www.britishmuseum.org/ © Trustees of the British Museum


Hornedjitef



Side view of the lid of the outer wooden coffin of Hornedjitef.

Catalog: EA6677
Photo: Don Hitchcock 2015
Source: Original, British Museum


Hornedjitef


The lid of the outer wooden coffin of Hornedjitef.

Base and lid of the anthropoid outer coffin of Hornedjitef, son of Nekhthorheb, who held a large number of priestly offices, made of sycomore fig wood, stained black, eyes gilded, lid is inscribed with texts from the Book of the Dead with a representation, in central panel, of Isis and Nephthys shown mourning over the deceased, interior of the base is decorated with a standing figure of Nut.

Catalog: EA6677
Photo: Google Arts and Culture Project, © Trustees of the British Museum
Source: Original, British Museum
Text: http://www.britishmuseum.org/ © Trustees of the British Museum


HornedjitefHornedjitef

A large figure of the goddess Nut is painted on the floor of the outer wooden coffin of Hornedjitef.

Catalog: EA6677
Photo (left): © Trustees of the British Museum
Photo (right): Don Hitchcock 2015
Source: Original, British Museum
Text: Card in museum, © Trustees of the British Museum


Egypt
Base and lid of the anthropoid wooden inner coffin of Hornedjitef, son of Nekhthorheb, who held a large number of priestly offices.

Reign of Ptolomy III, 246 BC - 222 BC. From Asasif, Thebes / Luxor.

Polychrome painted and gilded face, wig, collar and pectoral, winged scarab across breast, body inscribed with vertical registers of painted hieroglyphs, flanked by deities.

The rest of the surface is unelaborated, the interior of the base is also decorated.

Length 1945 mm, width 600 mm.

Registration Number 6678

Photo: Don Hitchcock 2015
Source: Original, British Museum
Text: Card in museum, http://www.britishmuseum.org/, © Trustees of the British Museum




Egypt

Mummy of Hornedjitef (inner coffin).

Reign of Ptolomy III, 246 BC - 222 BC. From Asasif, Thebes / Luxor.

This, the inner coffin, has a fine gilded face, with curled and tapering beard and a richly decorated collar with terminals in the form of falcon heads. In the centre of this collar is depicted an image of the ba, and a pectoral (chest) ornament incorporating a scene in which Hornedjitef adores four deities.

Below the collar is an image of the sun-god as a winged scarab beetle, flanked by baboons who worship the rising sun disc. A funerary text is inscribed in hieroglyphs below. Either side of the text are figures of deities: the four Sons of Horus and the goddesses Isis and Nephthys.

The interior of the lid is decorated with many figures, mostly relating to astronomy. Their position on the lid of the coffin is particularly appropriate, as the lid was symbolically identified with the heavens stretched above the deceased.

The central, full-face figure is that of the sky-goddess Nut, on whose body is written the text of chapter 89 of the Book of the Dead. To her left is a list of planets and decans (stars that rose every 10 days, by which the passage of time could be reckoned during the night). To the right of the goddess are the constellations of the northern hemisphere.

Photo: © Trustees of the British Museum
Source: Google Arts and Culture Project
Text: Card in museum, © Trustees of the British Museum, © https://www.google.com/culturalinstitute/beta/asset/mummy-of-hornedjitef-inner-coffin/vgHJIobGkBxTQg




papyrus
Section of the Book of the Dead papyrus of Hornedjitef, sheet 1, length 630 mm, height 438 mm.

Reign of Ptolemy III, 246 BC - 222 BC, from Asasif, Thebes / Luxor.

This hieratic papyrus, containing a selection from chapters 1 - 42 of the Book of the Dead, was found lying on the lid of the inner coffin. Another papyrus belonging to the same man, and now in the Pierpont Morgan Library, New York, contains a further selection, from chapters 110 - 161.

Catalog: EA10037/1
Photo: Don Hitchcock 2015
Source: Original, British Museum
Text: Card at museum display, http://www.britishmuseum.org/, © Trustees of the British Museum




statuette
Ptah-Sokar-Osiris statue of Hornedjitef.

Reign of Ptolemy III, 246 BC - 222 BC, from Asasif, Thebes / Luxor.

The statuette, of painted and gilded wood, represents the composite deity Ptah-Sokar-Osiris, whose function was to promote the resurrection of the deceased. In the long plinth is a cavity covered with a miniature sarcophagus, containing a small corn-mummy. This wrapped package of grain symbolised the regenerative power of Osiris as expressed through the germination of the corn.

Heights 575 mm and 175 mm, width 115 mm, length 402 mm

Catalog: EA9736
Photo: Don Hitchcock 2015
Source: Original, British Museum
Text: Card at museum display, http://www.britishmuseum.org/, © Trustees of the British Museum




Hornedjitef
Mummy of Hornedjitef in painted and gilded cartonnage cover and mask.

Reign of Ptolomy III, 246 BC - 222 BC. From Asasif, Thebes / Luxor.

The surface is decorated with standard Egyptian funerary images, gilded on blue, green and red grounds. The mask presents an idealised image of the dead man, with the golden skin and curled beard (lost) of a divine being.


On the base of the foot are painted sandals bearing images of bound foreign captives, to symbolise the deceased's triumph over the forces of chaos which might threaten his survival in the netherworld.

Catalog: 6679
Photo: Don Hitchcock 2015
Source: Original, British Museum
Text: Card, British Museum, © Trustees of the British Museum


Hornedjitef
Mummy of a man, aged 55-65, in a gilded and painted cartonnage mummy-case and separate mask, bearing the name Hornedjitef.

Skull - Almost totally obscured by the mask and wrappings.

Thorax and Abdomen - There is a profusion of small amulets at the base of the neck and upper part of the thorax. Within an otherwise almost empty body-cavity there are four large cylindrical masses of solidified linen and resin.


Catalog: EA6679
Photo: Don Hitchcock 2015
Source: Original, British Museum
Text: http://www.britishmuseum.org/, © Trustees of the British Museum


Hornedjitef
There are no obvious fractures of the ribs or spinal column, but the bodies of the lumbar and dorsal vertebrae show well-marked arthritic changes, especially in the lumbar region. No obvious fractures of hips or pelvis.

Catalog: EA6679
Photo: Don Hitchcock 2015
Source: Original, British Museum
Text: http://www.britishmuseum.org/, © Trustees of the British Museum


Hornedjitef

Arms - Flexed at the elbows, the forearms crossed over the upper abdomen.

Legs - No fractures, dislocations, or lines of arrested growth. There is an opacity between the knees which may represent a linen pad. Anklets of some non-metallic material are present.

Catalog: EA6679
Photo: Don Hitchcock 2015
Source: Original, British Museum
Text: Card in museum, © Trustees of the British Museum


HornedjitefHornedjitef Hornedjitef

Gilded mask of Hornedjitef, in the form of a helmet.

Catalog: EA6679
Photo: © Trustees of the British Museum
Source: Original, British Museum


Hyposcephalus of Hornedjitef Hyposcephalus of Hornedjitef
Hypocephalus of Hornedjitef

Reign of Ptolomy III, 246 BC - 222 BC. From Asasif, Thebes / Luxor.

The hypocephalus is a disc of linen covered with plaster, painted and inscribed. Chapter 162 of the Book of the Dead, versions of which are inscribed on the hypocephali, state that its purpose was to provide the mummy with life-giving fire. It was placed inside the inner coffin, close to the mummy's head.

Catalog: EA8446
Photo (left): Don Hitchcock 2015
Photo (right): © Trustees of the British Museum
Source: Original, British Museum
Text: Card, British Museum, © Trustees of the British Museum




Egypt Egypt



Posters in the British Museum with information on the coffins and mummy of the priest Hornedjitef.

Photo/text: © Trustees of the British Museum
Rephotography: Don Hitchcock 2015
Source: British Museum




Kushite fortress Kushite warrior god
Egypt's rival on the Nile

Around 740 BC the Kushite kings began to extend their control into Egypt, where they became known as the 25th Dynasty. It was a major power before the Roman Empire even existed. At its height the vast Kushite Empire united the Nile Valley from Khartoum in modern central Sudan to the Mediterranean. The army was vital in maintaining the Kushite state, although attacks still occurred, including an invasion in 24 BC by Gaius Petronius, the Roman prefect of Egypt.

(left) Gateway into the Kushite fortress at Qasr Ibrim.

(right) The Kushite warrior god Apedemak depicted in a relief carving at the Musawwarat es-Sufra Lion Temple.

Photo (left): © SARS Alexander Archive
Photo (right): © Trustees of the British Museum
Source and text: Poster, British Museum, © Trustees of the British Museum




Nubian prisoner
Bound prisoner, around 050 BC - 001 BC, from Meroë.

This solid-cast copper alloy ritual figure of a prisoner is inscribed with Meroitic text that says, 'This is the king of the Nubians'.

Catalog: EA65222
Photo: Don Hitchcock 2015
Source: Original, British Museum
Text: Card at museum display, http://www.britishmuseum.org/, © Trustees of the British Museum




Nubian prisoner
The captive has characteristic Nubian features and is shown naked and bound. The Kushites typically represented their defeated enemies in this way. Nubia was the ancient name for the Nile Valley in southern Egypt and northern Sudan.

Catalog: EA65222
Photo: © Trustees of the British Museum
Source: Original, British Museum
Text: Card at museum display, http://www.britishmuseum.org/, © Trustees of the British Museum




merowe
Meroë is an ancient city on the east bank of the Nile about 6 km north-east of the Kabushiya station near Shendi, Sudan, approximately 200 km north-east of Khartoum. Near the site are a group of villages called Bagrawiyah. This city was the capital of the Kingdom of Kush for several centuries.

Photo: Francis Geius - Mission SFDAS 2001 via Wikipedia
Permission: CC 1.0
Text: Wikipedia




Shanakdakhete

Reliefs from the interior of the funerary chapel of a Meroitic queen
From pyramid N.11 at Meroe

Photo: Don Hitchcock 2015
Source: Original, British Museum


Shanakdakhete
Reliefs from the interior of the funerary chapel of a Meroitic queen. From pyramid N.11 at Meroe

From the early 3rd century BC until the 4th century AD the majority of Meroitic rulers were buried beneath pyramids close to the city of Meroe. On several occasions the kingdom was ruled by a queen whose title was Kandake. A distorted reference to this practice appears in Classical accounts, which report that the 'Ethiopians' were always ruled by women called Candace.

The ruler buried beneath pyramid N .11 was probably Queen Shanakdakhete (2nd century BC), the first of the ruling queens of Meroe. The reliefs exhibited here come from the south wall of the queen's funerary chapel and reflect the strong influence of pharaonic Egypt on Meroitic monumental sculpture. The chapel itself was built against the eastern face of the pyramid.


On the right, the queen sits enthroned, wearing an elaborate, decorated robe. Behind her is another royal personage, perhaps a prince. Bound prisoners are depicted beneath the Queen's throne, and the royal pair are protected by the wings of the goddess Isis.

On the left, rows of attendants bearing palm branches are represented, together with scenes in which religious ceremonies are enacted and offerings made to various deities. Among these depictions the queen's heart is shown being weighed in a balance, an episode derived from Egyptian beliefs about the afterlife.

Catalog: EA719
Rephotography: Don Hitchcock 2015
Source: Poster, British Museum, © Trustees of the British Museum
Text: Poster at the British Museum, © Trustees of the British Museum


Shanakdakhete
The partially reconstructed funerary chapel of pyramid N.11 at Meroe.

Rephotography: Don Hitchcock 2015
Source: Poster, British Museum, © Trustees of the British Museum
Text: Poster at the British Museum, © Trustees of the British Museum




sandstone stela
Sandstone stela inscribed in Meroitic script.

This is one of two large stelae discovered in a ruined building south of Meroe. At the top, above a row of bound captives, are the remains of a double scene showing two royal personages standing before a god and goddess. The rest of the space is occupied by an inscription in cursive script which is one of the longest known monumental texts in Meroitic.

It is largely indecipherable but the names of Queen Amanirenas and Prince Akinidad are recognisable. These rulers lived during the late 1st century BC, at the time of Meroe's conflict with the Romans. It has therefore been suggested that the stela was set up to commemorate the Meroitic raid on the First Cataract region under Roman occupation in 24 BC.

Catalog: EA1650
Photo: Don Hitchcock 2015
Source: Original, British Museum
Text: Card at museum display, © Trustees of the British Museum




sandstone stela
Sandstone offering table of a high official, 1st century AD, from Faras.

Above the central well are carved lotuses and loaves of bread. To each side stand figures of the Egyptian deities Nephthys and Anubis, pouring libations for the deceased. The text in cursive script begins with the standard invocation to Isis and Osiris.

The owner was a pesato, an official who functioned as a viceroy in the north of the Meroitic kingdom, with his base at Faras.

Catalog: EA1576
Photo: Don Hitchcock 2015
Source: Original, British Museum
Text: Card at museum display, © Trustees of the British Museum




shards
Ostraca inscribed in cursive Meroitic, 1st-3rd century AD, from Qasr Ibrim.

Ostraca are fragments of broken pottery which were used for making informal notes and sketches.

Catalog: EA67972, EA71846, EA71847, EA71848
Photo: Don Hitchcock 2015
Source: Original, British Museum
Text: Card at museum display, © Trustees of the British Museum




pink statue
Torso of a pink sandstone male figure wearing a kilt and incised necklace, from a Meroitic Cemetery at Faras.

Height 225 mm, width 110 mm, depth 90 mm.

Condition incomplete - head, legs and much of the back has been lost.

Catalog: EA51573
Photo: Don Hitchcock 2015
Source: Original, British Museum
Text: http://www.britishmuseum.org/, © Trustees of the British Museum




Female Ba-bird statue Female Ba-bird statue
Female Ba-bird statue, 200 BC - AD 350

A characteristic later Kushite (Meroitic) sculpture, this statue shows a part-human, part-bird figure. The creature embodied the Egyptian concept of the Ba, one of the forms of the soul of the deceased.

Often made of sandstone, such statues were set up outside the tombs of high-ranking individuals in Lower Nubia (southern Egypt and northern Sudan). This particular example presumably came from the tomb of a woman as it is in female form.

Catalog: EA53965
Photo: Don Hitchcock 2015
Source: Original, British Museum
Text: Card at museum display, http://www.britishmuseum.org/, © Trustees of the British Museum




arrows
Kushite archery, 300 BC - AD 350

The army was an important part of Kushite society, and rulers were often depicted holding weapons and wearing armour. Weaponry was also frequently buried with the dead, including iron arrowheads and stone 'thumb rings'.

The Kingdom of Kush was an ancient Nubian kingdom situated on the confluences of the Blue Nile, White Nile and River Atbara in what is now the Republic of Sudan. The Kushite era of rule in Nubia was established after the Bronze Age collapse and the disintegration of the New Kingdom of Egypt, and it was centered at Napata in its early phase.

Catalog: These may be some of: EA 51508 (tomb 1/2648), EA 51602 (tomb 1/2648/7) Gasr Ibrim, EA 71841 and EA 72123
Photo: Don Hitchcock 2015
Source: Original, British Museum
Text: Card at museum display, © Trustees of the British Museum
Additional text: Wikipedia




arrows
Kushite marble thumb ring, 300 BC - AD 350

Archers wore these to protect their thumb, so they could draw the bowstring further increasing the tension to make the arrow fly further and faster.

Diameter 35 mm.

After King Kashta invaded Egypt in the 8th century BC, the Kushite emperors ruled as pharaohs of the Twenty-fifth dynasty of Egypt for a century, until they were expelled by the Assyrians under the rule of Esarhaddon. During Classical antiquity, the Kushite imperial capital was at Meroe. In early Greek geography, the Meroitic kingdom was known as Aethiopia. By the 1st century AD, the Kushite capital had been captured by the Beja Dynasty, who tried to revive the empire.

Catalog: EA51521 (tomb 1087)
Photo: Don Hitchcock 2015
Source: Original, British Museum
Text: Card at museum display, © Trustees of the British Museum
Additional text: Wikipedia




gold archer amulet
Archer amulet, 300 BC - AD 350

This gold amulet of a kneeling ram-headed archer probably shows the Egyptian and Kushite god Amur.

The Kushite kingdom with its capital at Meroe persisted until the 4th century AD, when it weakened and disintegrated due to internal rebellion. The Kushite capital was eventually captured and burnt to the ground by the Kingdom of Axum.

Catalog: EA59872
Photo: Don Hitchcock 2015
Source: Original, British Museum
Text: Card at museum display, © Trustees of the British Museum
Additional text: Wikipedia




young girl coffin young girl coffin
Coffin of a young girl, Graeco-Roman period, circa 50 BC - 50 AD, found at Akhmim.

Wooden base and lid of an anthropoid wooden coffin: for the body of a young girl, with extended foot-board, covered with moulded stucco and painted: the girl, with long black hair, is shown wearing a red mantle, with a green fringe, over a long white tunic, with a snake-bracelet on each wrist, holding sprigs of laurel in her left hand

Length 109 cm, width 27 cm

Catalog: EA29587
Photo: Don Hitchcock 2015
Source: Original, British Museum
Text: http://www.britishmuseum.org/research/, © Trustees of the British Museum




young girl coffin


Over the feet, painted so as to be seen by the deceased, is a winged sun-disc, with arms supporting festive symbols, and an ankh beneath, the relatively high sides of the base are decorated with representations of funerary deities and inscriptions, damaged in places.

Catalog: EA29587
Photo: Don Hitchcock 2015
Source: Original, British Museum
Text: http://www.britishmuseum.org/research/, © Trustees of the British Museum




young girl coffin young girl coffin
Painted wooden coffin of a young woman.

The front of the coffin represents the dead girl dressed in classical costume. Her long cream-coloured tunic has black stripes, or clavi, and a woven black H-motif on the right sleeve. A pink mantle with green edging is worn over the tunic. The feet are represented wearing black thonged sandals. A wreath is painted over the hair, and earrings, now lost, were originally inserted into holes in the ears.

Snake bracelets are painted on both wrists, and in the left hand are two sprigs, perhaps of myrtle. In front of the feet is an inverted scene in Egyptian style, showing the winged solar disc, from which emerge human arms holding tally-sticks, and the hieroglyphic sign ankh, signifying 'life'. The group is probably to be interpreted as a promise of eternal life through the power of the sun-god.

The sides of the coffin are decorated with figures of Egyptian deities arranged in registers.

Catalog: EA29587
Photo: Don Hitchcock 2015
Source: Original, British Museum
Text: Card at museum display, © Trustees of the British Museum




 gilded mask  gilded mask
Gilded cartonnage mummy-mask of Mareis. Obsidian and limestone eyes cased in bronze (lost on left side). Greek text on forehead, painted funerary scenes on front and back.

Height 51 cm, width 38 cm, circa 20 AD - 40 AD

Provenance: Middle Egypt, Faiyum, Hawara

Catalog: 21807
Photo (left): Don Hitchcock 2015
Photo (right): © Trustees of the British Museum
Source: Original, British Museum
Text: http://www.britishmuseum.org/research/ © Trustees of the British Museum




 gilded mask  gilded mask

These photographs bring out the gilded nature of the piece, and also show that it is what is generally called a 'helmet' rather than a Mummy-Mask.

Catalog: 21807
Photo: Don Hitchcock 2015
Source: Original, British Museum




painted shroud
Mummy of an unidentified youth with painted shroud.

Roman period, about 200 - 250 AD, Probably from Thebes / Luxor.


painted shroud
During the Roman period, the outer shroud frequently bore a full-length painted figure of the deceased in classical dress. This example, painted in tempera, depicts the dead man holding a garland of rosebuds and a sprig of myrtle.

Below the waist is an 'apron' decorated with a winged solar disc and a rhomboidal bead-net pattern: the ties of this apron extend to the shoulders. To each side of the central figure are scenes relating to burial and resurrection, drawn from both Egyptian and Roman sources.


painted shroud
CAT scans of the mummy show that the skeleton is in excellent condition. The arms are placed at the sides, and the head is slightly flexed forward, a position observed in a number of mummies of this period. Scans also show that a section of wooden pole had been used by the embalmers to support the spinal portion of the body. The state of fusion of the long bones suggests that the young man died in late adolescence, in agreement with the appearance of the portrait on the shroud.

The mummy is loosely bandaged and wrapped in a linen shroud, ornamented with a tempera painted portrait. The skull has all teeth present. There are no obvious fractures. The thorax and abdomen are apparently empty. There are no fractures or dislocations of the ribs, spinal column, pelvis, or hips. The lumbar and dorsal intervertebral discs appear opaque. The arms are extended. The hands with extended fingers are in contact with the outer aspect of the thighs. In the legs, there is a crack fracture in the medial part of the lower end of the right tibia. The menisci are opaque. There are no lines of arrested growth.

Catalog: EA6709
Photo (upper two): Don Hitchcock 2015
Photo (lowest, at left): © Trustees of the British Museum
Source: Original, British Museum
Text: http://www.britishmuseum.org/, © Trustees of the British Museum




 pemsais
Painted mummy case of a boy named Pemsais, first Century BC - first century AD, Graeco-Roman Period, from Akhmim.

This case appears to be made of mud with an outer layer of linen. Pamsais wears Hellenistic Greek costume, consisting of a blue undertunic, a red tunic with blue and white stripes, and a white mantle. His name is written in demotic beneath his left hand. He wears a blue and pink headdress with a raised band, perhaps a garland. At the back of the head is a mummification scene showing deities depicted in Egyptian style.

Length 890 mm, width 270 mm, height 245 mm.


Base and lid of a polychrome painted cartonnage mummy-case for the mummy of a young boy, called Pemsais, wearing a short tunic, with a cloak wrapped around the waist and draped over the left shoulder from behind, the name, in black painted Demotic, appears below the left hand, with mythological group represented on the top of the head.

Catalog: EA29589
Photo: Don Hitchcock 2015
Source: Original, British Museum
Text: Card at museum display, © Trustees of the British Museum


woman mummycase
Painted and gilded mummy case of an unnamed woman, Akhmim.

This case from the Graeco-Roman Period, 1st century BC - 1st century AD, is constructed from reused pieces of papyrus on which traces of writing are visible. The plastered exterior surface represents the dead woman dressed in a pink undertunic, a second tunic which is coloured blue with red stripes, and a striped linen mantle. A blue and gold lotus bud appears between the breasts, which are covered with gilded discs. The apron has a decorated border showing dancing figures and plant scrolls. Over the wig is a bound garland of pink, gold and blue flowers.

Length 165 cm, width 47 cm, height 36 cm.

Catalog: EA29585
Photo: Don Hitchcock 2015
Source: Original, British Museum
Text: Card with the display at the British Museum, http://www.britishmuseum.org/, © Trustees of the British Museum


woman mummycase


The soles of the sandals appear to be at least partly woven.

Photo: Don Hitchcock 2015
Source: Original, British Museum




woman mummycase
Another view of the mummy case, from the left.

It is interesting that the sculptor has attempted to show the form of the woman's body beneath her clothing, with the navel and abdomen clearly indicated.

Catalog: EA29585
Photo: Don Hitchcock 2015
Source: Original, British Museum
Text: Card with the display at the British Museum, © Trustees of the British Museum




woman mummycase



Construction of the coffins

Roman Period, 30 BC - 50 AD

The mummy-cases from the tomb illustrate the coexistence of several different techniques of coffin construction. The majority are hollow shells built up over a disposable core using a variety of materials: mud, linen, plaster and - in one case - scraps of discarded papyrus documents some of which still bear traces of writing in ink. This technique was common during the Ptolemaic and early Roman periods. A coating of plaster applied to the exterior (and sometimes to the interior) of the cases served as a base for the decoration in paint and gold leaf.

The small coffin of a girl (EA29587) is of a different type, it is made of wood, with sculpted and painted details; the iconography combines traditional Egyptian funerary scenes on the sides, with a depiction of the deceased in classical dress.

Catalog: EA29585
Photo: Poster at the British Museum, © Trustees of the British Museum
Rephotography: Don Hitchcock 2015




 woman mummycase woman mummycase
Taminis from Akhmim, Graeco-Roman Period, 1st century BC - 1st century AD.

Base and lid of a polychrome painted cartonnage mummy-case for the mummy of Taminis, daughter of Peteminis (or Spemminis), face and hair gilded, wearing a short-sleeved tunic, the border being decorated with hunting scenes and vignettes of domestic activities, which reaches to the ankles, the mantle, knotted between the breasts, covers the right shoulder and the loose end is drawn over the left shoulder from behind, and sandals; the name, in black painted Demotic, appears on the left shoulder; other funerary deities are represented around the edges of the lid; colours now faded.

Tamanis is represented dressed in classical costume and jewellery. She wears a pink undertunic and a striped linen shawl ove the shoulders. A demotic inscription (ancient Egyptian script derived from northern forms of hieratic used in the Nile Delta, and the stage of the Egyptian language written in this script, following Late Egyptian and preceding Coptic) on the left shoulder gives the name and parentage of the dead woman. A second tunic is visible on the arms and shins. The skirt is decorated with a figured scene of hunting, dancing to the music of flutes, and brewing beer. The jewellery includes earrings with bull's head terminals of late Hellenistic Greek type, necklaces, bracelets, and a variety of different rings.

Length 151 cm, width 54 cm, height 48 cm.

Catalog: EA29586
Photo: Don Hitchcock 2015
Source: Original, British Museum
Text: Card with the display at the British Museum, http://www.britishmuseum.org/, © Trustees of the British Museum




pink woman mummycase
Painted and gilded mummy case of a girl from Akhmim, Graeco-Roman Period, 1st century BC - 1st century AD.

This case appears to be made of mud, plastered on the outside and whitewashed on the interior. The painted decoration reproduces typical features of the trappings of a mummy of the Ptolemaic Period, with bead-net, gilded mask, large collar with falcon-head terminals, and cartonnage plaques. The feet are represented wearing sandals.

The painted bead-net includes a representation of Nut, with outstretched wings on the breast, with the falcon of Horus beneath.

Length 1100 mm, width 359 mm.

Catalog: EA29590
Photo: Don Hitchcock 2015
Source: Original, British Museum
Text: Card with the display at the British Museum, http://www.britishmuseum.org/, © Trustees of the British Museum


pink woman mummycase pink woman mummycase





Painted and gilded mummy case of a girl from Akhmim, Graeco-Roman Period, 1st century BC - 1st century AD, as above.

Catalog: EA29590
Photo: Don Hitchcock 2015
Source: Original, British Museum
Text: Card with the display at the British Museum, http://www.britishmuseum.org/, © Trustees of the British Museum




bearded man bearded man

Bearded man from Akhmim, Graeco-Roman Period, 1st century BC - 1st century AD.

The case is made from mud mixed with straw or chaff, with an outer skin of textile and an inner coating of plaster.

The decoration is in traditional Egyptian style, the surface painted to represent a bead-net incorporating a collar, with a winged sun-disc and cartonnage or textile plaques decorated with figures of gods.

Catalog: EA29584
Photo: Don Hitchcock 2015
Source: Original, British Museum
Text: Card with the display at the British Museum, http://www.britishmuseum.org/, © Trustees of the British Museum




bearded man


The feet are represented wearing sandals. Unusually, a naturalistic beard and moustache are painted on the face. The eyes are inlaid with glass.

Length 1740 mm, width 525 mm, height 480 mm.

Catalog: EA29584
Photo: © Trustees of the British Museum
Source: Original, British Museum
Text: Card with the display at the British Museum, http://www.britishmuseum.org/, © Trustees of the British Museum




pink woman mummycase pink woman mummycase

Painted and gilded mummy case of an infant, from Akhmim, Graeco-Roman Period, 1st century BC - 1st century AD.

The constructional details of this case are not fully visible, but the materials used included linen and other plant fibre. A painted bead-net on a pink background imitates the garment often shown worn by Osiris. The modelled arms and hands grasping the crook and flail sceptres emphasise the symbolic association between the dead child and the god. The elaborate falcon=head terminals of the collar are unusually represented as shown standing proud of the shoulders.

A gold pectoral is represented on the breast, and figures of the four Sons of Horus are painted on the sides. The gilded face-mask is surmounted by a row of gilded uraeus-serpents and a solar disc. The support for a crown, now lost, survives at the top of the head.

Catalog: EA29588
Photo: Don Hitchcock 2015
Source: Original, British Museum
Text: Card with the display at the British Museum, © Trustees of the British Museum




pink woman mummycase
Painted and gilded cartonnage mummy case of an infant, sex uncertain, from Akhmim, Graeco-Roman Period, 1st century BC - 1st century AD.

Skull - Flexed. No obvious fractures. Thorax and Abdomen - Owing to tight bandaging, the thoracic cage has been compressed and some of the ribs are fractured. A segment of the dorsal spine has been dislocated and is displaced to the left. A dense, cylindrical object lies in the right hemithorax. A similar object lies in the left hemithorax.

Pelvis - Apparently empty. The pelvic bones and hips appear normal. Arms - Crossed on the breast (right over left). The palms of the hands, fingers extended, lie just below the shoulders. No fractures or dislocations seen. Legs - The bones and joints appear normal. No fractures or dislocations seen.

The mummy-case is made in the form of Osiris. The face is gilded, the head originally surmounted by a crown. There is a gilded pectoral around neck, showing in relief a scarab flanked by falcons, crowned with solar discs, that surmounts an elaborate collar with free-standing falcon-headed terminals. The arms are not crossed, but the figure does hold crook and flail and wears bracelets. The body is painted to represent a bead-net and decorated with painted amulets, in the form of the four Sons of Horus, with a vertical register of corrupt hieroglyphs down centre of body.

Length 810 mm, width 235 mm, length 780 mm (mummy).

Catalog: EA29588
Photo: Don Hitchcock 2015
Source: Original, British Museum
Text: http://www.britishmuseum.org/, © Trustees of the British Museum




 mask  mask



Helmet mask for a mummy.

Cartonnage, painted and gilded, Ptolemaic Period, ca 1st century BC, from Qubbet el-Hawa.

This type of mask was placed over the head of the mummy during this period. The youthful features were not intended as a likeness of the deceased, but projected an idealised image for their existence in the afterlife. The mask also provided physical protection and could act as a substitute should the mummy's head be lost or damaged.

Photo: Don Hitchcock 2014
Source: Original, Ägyptische Museum der Universität Bonn
Additional text: http://www.britishmuseum.org/explore/highlights/highlight_objects/aes/e/egyptian_mummy_mask.aspx, © Trustees of the British Museum




mummy
Mummy of a young man, Roman period, after 30 BC. Provenance unknown.

The arrangement of the outer bandages of this mummy in a rhomboidal pattern was a fashion introduced about the 26th Dynasty (664 BC - 525 BC) and became common during the Ptolemaic and Roman periods. Such wrapping is sometimes associated with a gilded cartonnage mask, body plaques and sandals (as here), or with a plaster head or portrait panel.


mummy


mummy


mummy


mummy
CAT scans show that the body is that of a young man who died aged no more than 21-23 years. The skeleton is in good anatomical condition but sections of the spine are missing. The arms are crossed on the chest, and the skull appears to be empty. Linen packing is visible in the abdominal area, but it is uncertain whether or not this material contains the internal organs.

Catalog: EA2400
Photo: Don Hitchcock 2015
Source: Original, British Museum
Text: Card at museum display © Trustees of the British Museum




mummy
Further information about EA2400:

Rectangular wooden coffin with a cornice around the top; containing the mummy of a man aged 20-21, name unknown.

Skull - The head and chest are covered by a cartonnage mask with a gilded face, the artificial eyes of which and the eyebrows are outlined in dark blue glass, with protective deities at the sides of the head and funerary deities represented on the lappets of the wig. Mouth partly open. All teeth present. The cervical spine is widely dislocated at the level of the 4th vertebra, and the 5th is lying loose in the neck. The 6th and 7th cervical vertebrae are in normal anatomical relationship with the dorsal spine.

Thorax and Abdomen - Covered by a painted cartonnage pectoral, decorated with a winged solar disc with uraei and a vignette, showing Anubis mummifying the deceased, flanked by Isis and Nephthys, beneath. There is linen packing in the left upper zone of the thorax, and also in the pelvis and abdomen. The 5th, 6th, 7th, and 12th dorsal vertebrae are missing; the remaining dorsal vertebrae and lumbar spine appear normal.

The upper four ribs on both sides are normal; all the rest are dislocated at their costo-vertebral articulations, and are lying haphazardly, but not fractured. The pelvis and hips appear normal. Iliac epiphyses not quite fused, hence inference of age. The penis is bandaged separately.

Arms - flexed at the elbows, forearms crossed over the breast, right over left, hands on shoulders. Legs - Faint lines of arrested growth at lower ends of tibiae, otherwise no joint or bone lesion. Many fragments of the linen mummy-wrappings, removed during restoration in September 1970, are now stored separately.

Photo: © Trustees of the British Museum
Text: http://www.britishmuseum.org/ © Trustees of the British Museum




 mummy
Mummy of an unidentified man, from Akhmim, 169 cm long.

Late Ptolemaic or Roman period, 1st century BC - 1st century AD.

The outer wrappings of this mummy have been coated with a thick layer of a black resinous substance, perhaps bitumen. Over this are placed elaborate coverings made of painted and gilded cartonnage.

These consist of a mask, with a winged scarab beetle and solar disc on the top of the head; a body-cover incorporating a collar, and decorated with figures of various deities including Osiris and the sky-goddess Nut; and a footcase with sandals elaborately modelled in a twisted and gilded linen.


 mummy
X-rays of the body show that the arms are fully extended. The skeleton, that of an adult man of robust build, appears to be in good condition. A dense packing material, perhaps sand or mud, is visible within the thoracic and abdominal cavities.

Catalog: EA29782
Photo: Don Hitchcock 2015
Source: Original, British Museum
Text: Card at museum display, © Trustees of the British Museum


Additional information on the mummy above from the British Museum website:

Mummy of a heavily built adult man, name unknown. The body is enclosed in a cartonnage cover of separate pieces. There is a gilded and painted cartonnage mummy-mask and open-work covers for body and feet. The mummy is thickly coated with a black resinous substance, resembling pitch.

Skull - Mouth slightly open. No obvious fractures. There is a fairly dense lobulated mass within the skull. The cervical spine appears to be intact.
Thorax and Abdomen - The cavities are filled with sand, mud, or some dense amorphous material. No fractures in ribs, spinal column, pelvis, or hips.
Arms - Extended. Hands with extended fingers, the palmar surface in contact with the outer aspect of the thighs.
Legs - No fractures, dislocations, or lines of arrested growth.

Text: http://www.britishmuseum.org/, © Trustees of the British Museum




Soter Soter
Base-board and cover of the wooden coffin of Soter, son of Cornelius Pollius and Archon of Thebes / Luxor, with polychrome painted and gilded decoration and inscriptions.

Roman Period, circa 100 - 120 AD, from Sheikh Abd el-Qurna, tomb 32 (probably), Thebes / Luxor.

Length 213 cm, width 77 cm.

The base board is rectangular, originally joined to the cover by mortise and tenon joints, decorated with a full-length representation of Nut, with laden fruit tree behind, shown with eight long tresses, in Greek style, and wearing a chaplet of red flowers, wearing a floral collar, necklace, chain with pendants and snake-bracelets, with representations of Isis and Nephthys, in mourning, on each side of head, with a vertical register of hieroglyphs, containing an invocation to the goddess, down the centre of the body, traces of a black resinous substance adhere in places.

The interior of the vaulted cover is decorated with another representation of Nut, with hands raised above head, surrounded by the twelve signs of the zodiac, arranged anti-clockwise, and, on the left side, the twelve hours of the night and, on the right, the twelve hours of the day, and is inscribed in places.

Catalog: EA6705
Photo (left): Don Hitchcock 2015
Photo (right): © Trustees of the British Museum Source: Original, British Museum
Text: Card with the display at the British Museum, http://www.britishmuseum.org/, © Trustees of the British Museum




Soter coffin
Coffin of Soter.

This shows the exterior of the coffin above.

Catalog: EA6705
Photo: Don Hitchcock 2015
Source: Original, British Museum
Text: Card with the display at the British Museum, © Trustees of the British Museum


Soter coffin
Gilded wooden falcon from the lid of the coffin of Soter.

The statuette was placed in the centre of the lid, where a slot was cut to accommodate it.

Catalog: EA6705
Photo: Don Hitchcock 2015
Source: Original, British Museum
Text: Card with the display at the British Museum, © Trustees of the British Museum


Soter coffin
The exterior is decorated with funerary deities and architectural motifs. A gilded and painted wooden figure of a hawk, crowned with solar disc, which would have surmounted the lid, also survives, as shown above. The slot in the centre of the lid which accepted the hawk may be seen in this photograph.

Catalog: EA6705
Photo: Don Hitchcock 2015
Source: Original, British Museum
Text: Card with the display at the British Museum, © Trustees of the British Museum




Tphous
Base board and vaulted cover of the sycomore fig wood coffin of Tphous, daughter of Heraclius Soter and Serapous, from Sheikh Abd el-Qurna, Thebes / Luxor, dated to the Roman Period, circa 100 - 120 AD, probably from Tomb 32.

The base board is rectangular and there are four corner posts. The gable ends are decorated with painted scarabs and winged solar discs with rearing uraei (serpents), with registers of hieroglyphs and one panel of Greek inscription, the latter records that Tphous died aged 6 years, 8 months and 2 days in the reign of Hadrian, and was interred in the family tomb some 10 months later.


On each side of the coffin the dead girl, accompanied by Anubis, is shown in the presence of Osiris with, on one side, the Apis bull and Ra-Horakhty and, on the other, two of the Sons of Horus, behind.

Below a solar barque is towed by three jackals, joined by a snake. The rest of the surface is decorated with funerary deities, inscriptions and other decorative motifs.

Catalog: EA6708
Photo: Don Hitchcock 2015
Source: Original, British Museum
Text: Card with the display at the British Museum, http://www.britishmuseum.org/, © Trustees of the British Museum




Soter family
The burials of Soter and his family.

Soter was an archon (high official) at Thebes / Luxor, and he and his family were probably of Greek origin. They lived during the reigns of the Roman emperors Trajan and Hadrian.

The coffins, mummies and funerary papyri of the Soter family were discovered about 1818 - 1820 by Antonio Lebolo. They had probably been buried in Theban tomb 32, originally made for a man named Djehutymose in the reign of Ramesses II. The group comprised the burials of at least three generations of the Soter family. A complete list cannot be established because the coffins, mummies and papyri were dispersed around the world before being documented. The coffin of Soter himself is on display in case 21.

All the wooden coffins are rectangular, with vaulted tops and a post at each corner. The interiors are decorated with large depictions of godesses and signs of the zodiac. The inscriptions, in hieroglyphic and Greek, give general genealogical information about the owners and sometimes precise dates of birth and death, or ages at death. The dated deaths fall between AD 109 and AD 146. The mummies were heavily wrapped and provided with painted outer shrouds and funerary papyri were inserted intot the wrappings.

Photo: Poster, British Museum
Rephotography: Don Hitchcock 2015
Text: Poster, British Museum © Trustees of the British Museum
Diagram on poster: after Kákosy (1995)




Cleopatra Cleopatra
Polychrome painted wooden base-board and vaulted cover of the coffin of the daughter of Candace, Cleopatra, who died at the age of eleven years, decorated and inscribed. Candace is known to have been the wife of Soter.

Roman Period, circa 100 - 120 AD, from Sheikh Abd el-Qurna, probably tomb 32, Thebes / Luxor.

The base-board is rectangular and decorated with with a full-length representation of Nut with stylised tree behind, Nut's shoulders are flanked by representations of Isis and Nephthys in mourning, each with a standing female attendant or funerary deity, who holds a crown aloft.

Couchant jackals, seated upon shrines, are shown on either side of Nut's feet, and a large deposit of black resin, with scraps of linen adhering, marks the outline of the mummy, now displayed elsewhere.

The lid is vaulted with four corner posts and gable sections decorated in a pseudo-architectural style. The interior is also decorated with a representation of Nut, surrounded by the twelve signs of the zodiac arranged clockwise with, on the left side, the twelve hours of the day and, on the right the twelve hours of the night. The exterior is decorated with registers of polychrome painted funerary deities and other decorative motifs.


Length 1845 mm (baseboard), width 750 mm (baseboard), height 100 mm (baseboard), length: 1780 mm (lid), width 660 mm (lid), height 680 mm (lid), height: 700 mm (combined lid and baseboard)

Catalog: EA6706
Photo: Don Hitchcock 2015
Source: Original, British Museum
Text: Card with the display at the British Museum, http://www.britishmuseum.org/, © Trustees of the British Museum




Soter coffin
The exterior is decorated with typical Egyptian scenes, including the weighing of the heart before Osiris, and guardian-deities of the gates of the underworld. The interior decoration is similar to that of the coffin of Soter. A large figure of the goddess Nut occupies the centre, with radiating sun disc and the sun-god as falcon above her head, and the Apis bull at her feet.

Catalog: EA6706
Photo: Don Hitchcock 2015
Source: Original, British Museum
Text: Card with the display at the British Museum, © Trustees of the British Museum




Soter coffin
Goddesses personifying the hours of day and night are painted along the sides, and the spaces between these figures and that of Nut are occupied by the signs of the zodiac.

Catalog: EA6706
Photo: © Trustees of the British Museum
Source: Original, British Museum
Text: Card with the display at the British Museum, © Trustees of the British Museum




Corn Mummy
Corn mummy from Tuna el-Gebel, the necropolis of Khmun, Hermopolis Magna, located in Middle Egypt.

0 - 200 AD, Greco-Roman period, 50 cm.

Sycomore fig wood, earth, grain

Ficus sycomorus grows to 20 metres tall and 6 metres wide, grown in rich soils along rivers and in mixed woodlands. The fruit is a large and edible fig, 2-3 cm in diameter. It was the ancient Egyptian Tree of Life. It was widely cultivated in ancient Egypt.

Photo: https://www.google.com/culturalinstitute/asset-viewer/mummy-of-corn/SgG5mTcdSCntYg?projectId=art-project
Text: http://www.rmo.nl/collectie/-topstukken-/?1273




Egypt Egypt


Mummy of a boy.

The images on the body show that the artist was not skilled in traditional Egyptian art.

Mummy, linen, plaster; location Oxyrynchus (?) ca 0 - 100 AD. Roman Imperial Period.


This mummy, a teenager from el-Behnasa near the oasis Fayoem, bears all the traditional elements of decoration. But certain elements of it show that these were no longer properly understood. Even the bad proportions of the painted figures and fake hieroglyphs give the impression of an extinct culture. Only the survival of the ancient religion kept these forms alive. Soon the rise of Christianity helped to put it to an end.

This mummy shows us a final flowering of the entire repertoire of Egyptian funerary art. Unfortunately, the origin of this piece is not known with certainty. According to the sellers the mummy came from just south of Fayoem at el-Behnasa. In Roman times, this was the thriving county town of Oxyrhynchos, named after a species of fish of the Nile River which was important in Egyptian mythology as the fish that ate the penis of Osiris. Of the city itself, with its pillar lined main streets, numerous temples (but also two Christian churches and a synagogue), theatre, gymnasium and badge building there is now almost nothing left. The tomb buildings of the notables of the city, were mausoleums whose walls were adorned with almost life-size statues of the deceased have been lost due to vandalism and modern construction. Only the loose grave images can still be found in many museum collections.

Excavations in the ruins of the city by the English archaeologists Grenfell and Hunt between 1897 and 1907 led to thousands of papyrus fragments to light. As a result, we can despite all the devastation still obtain a very good picture of life in the Romano-Egyptian city.

Although Egypt had been ruled at the time for about five hundred years by the Greeks and Romans, still the majority of the urban population regarded themselves as pure Egyptian. Only the elite of the city was Greek or Roman, even if their way of life is not substantially different from that of the native population. This way of life was characterised by a subtle blending of Egyptian and Hellenistic elements. In addition to the Greek Zeus and the Roman Jupiter the Egyptian Serapis was also worshiped in the temples of the city. Especially in the funeral rites, many ancient traditions were still maintained.

According to radiological examination this is the mummy of a child aged from 13 to 15 years old. The mummy is entirely wrapped in resin soaked linen. Over the face is a mask strapped with linen bands. The mask consists of several layers of linen with stucco, in which the face and hands are moulded in relief. Over the abdomen is a large piece of linen, while the legs and feet are packed in some loose pieces. The entire surface is painted with traditional Egyptian motifs. The face, which is severely damaged, was pink in colour. Around the back is a pattern of large wings showing that the head is protected. Furthermore, the head and upper body are presented as if they were shrouded in a cloak. The embossed pink hands come out from its folds. In the right hand, the dead holds a twig, or possibly a bunch of emmer wheat, a well-known symbol of the promise of life after death. The left hand holds a folded flower garland, which expresses the hope that the dead will be declared righteous in the Judgement of the Dead by the gods of the afterlife.

The rest of the decoration is arranged in horizontal sections, which are separated from each other by bands of coloured blocks. On either side of the head kneel the goddesses Isis and Nephthys, while the jackal god Anubis is seated behind. Protecting the neck are two falcon figures, with behind each on the one hand is the god Osiris, on the other is Anubis. On the chest can be seen Anubis watching over a painted representation of the mummy, in a stereotypical manner. Strangely, the mummy lies in a boat with high arched bow and stern, which itself stands on a bier in the form of a standing lion. Below some Canopic jars are seen (which were no longer used at this time). On the far left is a god with a falcon, and on the right a mummy with the head of Qebehsenuef, the Son of Horus. In the preparation of mummies, his canopic jar was used for the intestines. Under the left arm of the boy is a sphinx with a falcon's head, a god figure that we see more often depicted in the art of this time. The belly of the dead is protected by two falcons standing under a sky with stars, probably representations of the sun god Re-Harakhty.

The panel below shows a woman's figure offering a sacrifice of incense to the gods Osiris and Anubis. Perhaps this woman is the deceased himself, even though the skeletal remains appear to be rather that of a boy. The alternative is to see this figure as Isis. Two sphinxes repelling evil lie underneath, while these panels are framed around by djed pillars. The feet are in painted sandals, between which a key of life, an ankh, is shown. On the soles is an ornamental bow, with the crown of Isis between grid patterns. Ties with ornamental rosettes and striped friezes keep these components in place.

Ostensibly here there is still a complete mastery of the Egyptian funerary symbolism. However, details such as the boat on the bier, or unidentifiable genii, betray the lack of genuine understanding. Noteworthy also are the bad proportions of the various figures and text panels written with fake hieroglyphics in various scenes. Egyptian art was at this time dying. Only the survival of the ancient religious beliefs justified its survival in a changing society, until the spread of Christianity ended it completely.

Photo: Don Hitchcock 2014
Source: Original, Rijksmuseum van Oudheden, National Museum of Antiquities, Leiden.
Additional text: http://www.rmo.nl/onderwijs/museumkennis/verhalen/mummie-uit-de-romeinse-tijd




Egypt


Mummy of an unknown man

A Portrait in Greco-Roman style is painted on the shroud.

Mummy, linen, location Thebes / Luxor, ca 200-250 AD. Roman Imperial Period.

Photo: Don Hitchcock 2014
Source: Original, Rijksmuseum van Oudheden, National Museum of Antiquities, Leiden.




painted mummy in shroud
Mummy of a male child, in a painted linen shroud and wooden coffin.

Roman Period, circa 230 AD - 250 AD. Provenance unknown.

Catalog: EA6715
Photo: Don Hitchcock 2015
Source: Original, British Museum
Text: http://www.britishmuseum.org/, card with the display at the British Museum, © Trustees of the British Museum




painted mummy in shroud snake coffin
The mummy in its shroud was contained in a painted wooden coffin, consisting of a flat base-board, with a raised edge, which is decorated with a painted representation of Nut, on a white ground; the convex lid is decorated with a painted representation of a snake and a floral garland on a white ground with red edges and sides.

Skull - No obvious fractures. The cervical spine appears intact.

Thorax and Abdomen - These cavities appear empty. The ribs, spinal column, pelvis, and hips are normal. No fractures or dislocations. The intervertebral discs, especially the lumbar, are partially opaque. The whole of the body surface shows a flecked appearance, probably due to particles of sand in the resinous covering.

Arms - Extended. Hands, with fingers extended, the palmar surfaces in contact with the outer aspect of the thighs.

Legs - Menisci opaque. Bones appear normal. No lines of arrested growth. Wrapped in a linen shroud bearing tempera representation of the deceased in Graeco-Roman costume, wearing white sandals and holding a bunch of laurel leaves in his left hand, right hand raised, hair painted red with white spots, the meaning of the four black marks on the forehead is unknown.

The mummy is wrapped in a shroud on which is depicted the boy wearing a tunic, mantle and slippers, and holding a sprig of myrtle. A wreath of rosebuds is worn on the head. CAT scans of the mummy suggest an age at death of 8 to 10 years.

( one can't help but wonder if the boy had been killed by a snake, possibly the Egyptian Cobra, which is known to enter houses on occasion. The four black marks on the boy's head painted on the shroud could then be interpreted as the marks of snakebite - Don )

Catalog: EA6715
Photo: Don Hitchcock 2015
Source: Original, British Museum
Text: http://www.britishmuseum.org/, card with the display at the British Museum, © Trustees of the British Museum




Egypt
Mummy of Pasheryentaihet

All limbs are individually wrapped, the bandages imitate clothes. Also unique are the painted decorative bands.

Mummy, linen; site Thebes / Luxor; 200-300 AD. Roman Imperial Period

Photo: Don Hitchcock 2014
Source: Original, Rijksmuseum van Oudheden, National Museum of Antiquities, Leiden.




Egypt
Mummy with a golden face mask.

The use of gold was connected to the belief that the sun god Re, with whom the mummy hoped to be united, had flesh of pure gold.

The mask was created from layers of wet linen gummed together, usually shaped over a mould and then given a thin outer coating of plaster. Once it had hardened, it could then be gilded or painted.

Photo: Don Hitchcock 2014
Source: Original, Rijksmuseum van Oudheden, National Museum of Antiquities, Leiden.
Text: http://www.britishmuseum.org/explore/highlights/highlight_objects/aes/g/gilded_cartonnage_mummy_mask.aspx, © Trustees of the British Museum




less expensive burial
This is an interesting burial, one which mimics the form of the magnificent burials that have been detailed above, but one which was obviously not nearly so expensive, nor so steeped in tradition.

The outward forms of the ceremonial coffins are there, but the substance shows that either there was either insufficient wealth to create the traditional coffins of the elite, or that the traditions had already been largely forgotten, and perhaps the burial is from the end of the reign of the pharoahs.

The paintings on the coffins mimic the complex hieroglyphics of the more expensive coffins, but there is no substance to them, they are decorations only.

Photo: Don Hitchcock 2014
Source: Original, Ägyptische Museum der Universität Bonn




less expensive burial
The carving of the face is workmanlike, but the painting and finish of the casket is of inferior quality.

Photo: Don Hitchcock 2014
Source: Original, Ägyptische Museum der Universität Bonn




less expensive burial
Here we can see that the complex hieroglyphics of the elite are reduced to a few daubs of colour.

Photo: Don Hitchcock 2014
Source: Original, Ägyptische Museum der Universität Bonn




less expensive burial
The casket is made from planks of wood joined together, a much cheaper method than carving the entire coffin from the trunk of a single tree, which is the method used for many of the more expensive funerals.

Photo: Don Hitchcock 2014
Source: Original, Ägyptische Museum der Universität Bonn










Animal Mummies



Animal mummy

The crocodile was regarded as an extremely fierce animal, often used to terrify enemies during war.


The crocodile cult was devoted to Sebek, god of fertility, and the sun god, Re. Typically, crocodiles were raised in a life of complete luxury, indulged until they died. In the early years of this cult, dead crocodiles were lavishly mummified with gold and other precious things.

However, as mummification gradually became a production process, less effort was exerted in their mummification and eventually consisted simply of cloth wrappings and the application of resin, a preserving agent. When found in extremely large quantities, crocodile mummies, like many other sorts of animal offerings, contained only reeds or random body parts. At the main temple of Shedet, later called Crocodilopolis, sacred crocodiles were mummified and displayed in temple shrines or carried in processions.

Location unknown, 300-200 BC, Ptolemaic Dynasty. 314 cm long.

When X-rayed, the mummy was actually of two small crocodiles.

Photo: Don Hitchcock 2014
Source: Original, Rijksmuseum van Oudheden, National Museum of Antiquities, Leiden.
Additional text: Wikipedia
X-ray information: http://www.anp-archief.nl/page/80591/nl


Animal mummies
A group of animal mummies, including dogs and cats.

The first large animal on the left is the mummy of a baboon.

Baboon: 380-30 BC., 530 x 260 x 535 mm, AMM 15

Photo: Don Hitchcock 2014
Source: Original, Rijksmuseum van Oudheden, National Museum of Antiquities, Leiden.




baboon mummy
This is an xray of the mummified baboon in the image above.

Photo: Rijksmuseum van Oudheden
Permission: Creative Commons Attribution-Share Alike 3.0 Unported licence.




cat mummy
Cat mummy, and a box for a cat mummy at its feet.

Photo: Don Hitchcock 2014
Source: Original, Rijksmuseum van Oudheden, National Museum of Antiquities, Leiden.




 mummy of a falcon
Mummy of a falcon in a painted cartonnage case, originally enclosed in a sandstone shrine, Roman Period, after 30 BC. Provenance unknown.

Catalog: EA49734
Photo: Don Hitchcock 2015
Source: Original, British Museum
Text: http://www.britishmuseum.org/, card with the display at the British Museum, © Trustees of the British Museum




 mummy of a falcon
The British Museum site describes this as a mummy-case containing a mummified hawk wrapped in linen from the Roman Period.

Catalog: EA49734
Photo: Don Hitchcock 2015
Source: Original, British Museum
Text: http://www.britishmuseum.org/, card with the display at the British Museum, © Trustees of the British Museum




 mummy of a falcon
The mummy of the bird, length 375 mm.

Catalog: EA49734
Photo: Don Hitchcock 2015
Source: Original, British Museum
Text: http://www.britishmuseum.org/, card with the display at the British Museum, © Trustees of the British Museum




 mummy of a falcon
Sandstone shrine in which the mummy of the bird and its case were found.

Height 450 mm, width 207 mm, length 180 mm.

Catalog: EA49734
Photo: Don Hitchcock 2015
Source: Original, British Museum
Text: http://www.britishmuseum.org/, card with the display at the British Museum, © Trustees of the British Museum




dog mummy
Dog mummy. The dog was only a young animal when it either died or was killed to make a mummy out of it.

0-200 AD, Roman Imperial Period.

Dogs were used as domestic pets, guardians, herders, and police assistants. Several dog breeds could be found in ancient Egypt, the most popular being the greyhound, basenji, and saluki, all very good for hunting. From the First Dynasty, Egyptians venerated several jackal deities, with the most prominent one being Anubis. He was represented as a canine or a canine headed human.


Traditionally, Anubis has been identified as a jackal, but its generally black colouring, symbolic of the afterlife and rebirth, is not typical of jackals and may instead denote a wild dog. Because dogs and jackals roamed the desert's edge, where the dead were generally buried, they were seen as protectors of cemeteries.

Photo: Don Hitchcock 2014
Source: Original, Rijksmuseum van Oudheden, National Museum of Antiquities, Leiden.
Additional text: Wikipedia




fish mummy
These fish mummies were placed in fish shaped receptacles, possibly because they were not a very good subject for mummification. Fish were mummified in mass quantities as offerings to the gods. They were wrapped in linen and held together by bands of cloth soaked in sticky resin, permanently encasing the mummies. Many times, black circles representing the eyes were painted on the hardened linen. Several species of fish have been identified, but due to the deteriorating condition of the mummies, scientists are unable to conclude if the organs were typically removed during the process of mummification.

Photo: Don Hitchcock 2014
Source: Original, Rijksmuseum van Oudheden, National Museum of Antiquities, Leiden.
Text: Wikipedia




fish mummy
Falcon: The conical body tapers towards a pointed caudal end with dummy feet. The head is well modelled and the face covered by a cartonnage mask moulded in gesso over coarse linen; the linen is visible through damaged spots at the right eyebrow, the bill (where the gesso is completely missing), and the throat. The mask is cream-coloured with details in black (irises, markings around the eyes) and red (details of the bill, rims of the eyes, dotted line on the throat, swastikas on the jaws).

The mask is surrounded by the striated lappets (decorative flap or fold in a ceremonial headdress) of a divine wig made of doubled strips of linen, alternating natural and dark brown; the back of the wig is lost and instead the head is covered by a crumpled layer of plain linen. There are remains of horizontal strips of linen under the throat.

Photo: Don Hitchcock 2014
Source: Original, Rijksmuseum van Oudheden, National Museum of Antiquities, Leiden.
Text: http://www.rmo.nl/collectie/zoeken?object=F+1975%2F11.3


falcon mummy

Otherwise the body is wrapped in a single sheet of medium-fine natural linen (warp-faced tabby weave, about 12 x 28 threads/cm2) which shows a join along the centre of the back and over the soles of the dummy feet. The upper body, however, is much damaged and shows the irregular layers of interior wrappings of similar quality (partly added during a modern restoration, fixed by numerous concentric windings of thin yarn). There are several black and dark brown stains and some shiny patches on the exterior sheet.

95 x 520 x 81 mm

Photo and text: http://www.rmo.nl/collectie/zoeken?object=F+1975%2F11.3




cat mummy cat mummy
This wooden cat figure serves as a sheath for the mummy of a cat. To this end, it is manufactured in two parts and hollowed out on the inside. The mummy is still in it.

The cavity is open at the bottom and is closed by placing the figure on a pedestal This base has a form of the hieroglyph 'protection', which is often a sign associated with cats. The base and pedestal are covered with stucco and painted. Around the neck is a necklace with a picture of an amulet of the protective eye (wedjat). On top of the head a scarab is painted between the ears. Everything indicates that this cat was embalmed and buried with great care.

Height: 41 cm, late period or Ptolemaic.

Photo (left): Don Hitchcock 2014
Photo (right): https://www.google.com/culturalinstitute/asset-viewer/holder-for-a-cat-mummy/tgHi0pLW5_LIrg?projectId=art-project
Source: Original, Rijksmuseum van Oudheden, National Museum of Antiquities, Leiden.
Text: http://www.rmo.nl/onderwijs/museumkennis/verhalen/kattensarcofaag-en--mummie









References

  1. Harer W., 1985: Pharmacological and Biological Properties of the Egyptian Lotus, Journal of the American Research Center in Egypt, Vol. 22 (1985), pp. 49-54 Published by: American Research Center in Egypt DOI: 10.2307/40000390
  2. Kákosy L., 1995: 'The Soter Tomb in Thebes', in S.P, Vleeming (ed.), Hundred-Gated Thebes: Acts of a Colloqium on Thebes and the Theban area in the Graeco-Roman Period, Leiden: Brill, 61- 67
  3. Martin G., 1991: Hidden Tombs of Memphis, Thames and Hudson, London 1991
  4. Maspero G., 1903: History of Egypt, Chaldea, Syria, Babylonia, and Assyria, London : Grolier Society
  5. Pommerening, T., Marinova, E., Hendrickx, S., 2010: The Early Dynastic origin of the water-lily motif, Chronique d’Egypte, 85 (2010): 14-40
  6. Raven M., 1980: Papyrus-sheaths and Ptah-Sokar-Osiris Statues, RMO, 1980 - 296 pages
  7. Strudwick N., 2006: Masterpieces of Ancient Egypt, University of Texas Press, 1 Nov. 2006 - Social Science - 352 pages
  8. Taylor J., 2010: Journey Through the Afterlife: Ancient Egyptian Book of the Dead, Harvard University Press, 2010 - History - 320 pages



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