Coffin of Tpaeus

From Qurna, Thebes, Egypt
Roman Period, early second century AD

Painted wooden coffin

An inscription on the coffin names the owner, Tpaeus, a member of the family of the high official Soter. The family, probably of Greek origin, flourished during the first half of the second century AD, when Egypt was ruled by the Roman emperors Trajan (reigned AD 98-117) and Hadrian (reigned AD 117-138). A panel of Greek inscription records that Tpaeus died aged 6 years, 8 months and 2 days, and was buried in the family tomb some ten months later.

Like all the coffins in the group, the coffin is rectangular with a vaulted roof. The decoration is similar to that of the coffin of Cleopatra. The theme follows Egyptian funerary tradition, but in a style that shows Mediterranean influence. The lid shows a series of protective deities, as well as a scene of Osiris before an offering table. On the interior is a figure of a goddess surrounded by foliage.

On one side of the coffin are three jackals dragging the sun boat, a scene from the Book of the Heavens in which the sun travels through the day and night skies. This scene was originally depicted on the ceilings of the tombs of the later Ramesside kings. The winged scarab and a winged sun disc reinforce the solar imagery, linked with the daily rebirth of the sun.

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Museum number

EA 6708

YCA56056

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