Coffin of Taminis

From Akhmim, Egypt
early Roman Period, late 1st century BC to early 1st century AD

Anthropoid (that is, human-shaped) coffins usually showed the deceased in their mummified state. However, in the first century BC and particularly among the Greek inhabitants of Egypt, it became popular to show the deceased wearing everyday dress.

The owner of this coffin, made from gilded and painted cartonnage and stucco (plaster), is a lady called Taminis. She is identified by an inscription on her shawl. Her outfit consists of several layers of clothing. Her pink undergarment is decorated with black and white striped bands. It is visible at her ankles and on her chest, above the flowers marking her breasts. Her overtunic has fringed edges, showing at the ankles and on the arms, just below the shawl.

The front of her skirt is decorated with a gold panel bordered by figures of people hunting, brewing and dancing, perhaps at a festival. This motif, and some of the jewellery, such as the bull's head earrings, is also of Hellenistic origin. Her strapped sandals were obviously fashionable at this time, as they appear on other coffins, like that of Tamin, also in the British Museum. Details of the beads and folds of the material are moulded in stucco. Gilding is used to emphasis elements of the jewellery and on the face to show that the deceased reached the Afterlife (gold was considered to be the flesh of the gods).

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More information

Bibliography

E.R. Russmann, Eternal Egypt: masterworks of (University of California Press, 2001)

S. Walker and M. Bierbrier, Ancient faces: mummy portrai-1 (London, The British Museum Press, 1997)

Dimensions

Length: 109.000 cm
Width: 27.000 cm

Museum number

EA 29587

YCA55984

Location

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