Inner coffin of the priest Hor

From the tomb of Hor at Deir el-Bahari, Thebes, Egypt
25th Dynasty, about 680 BC

A priest of Montu

The mummy of Hor was probably originally housed in three coffins, of which this is the innermost. Its form is closely modelled on that of stone or wooden statues, which often incorporate a back-pillar and a pedestal beneath the feet. In this case the coffin represents the dead man shrouded in mummy-wrappings, and wearing the striped blue wig which indicated that he had acquired the attributes of divine being.

Nut, goddess of the sky, spreads her wings over the breast of the coffin. This was a gesture of protection, but also symbolically linked the coffin lid with the vault of heaven. The case, or lower half of the coffin, often symbolized the earth or the Underworld. Thus the images and insriptions of the coffin magically placed the mummy of the deceased at the centre of a miniature version of the universe. The hieroglyphic texts inscribed in blue paint on the inner surfaces are extracts from the Book of the Dead, spells which would protect and assist Hor on his passage to the next life.

On the foot of the coffin, the mummy receives an ankh, symbolic of life, from the sun god, who is depicted as a sun disc with human arms and the wings of a falcon. Hor's mummy is also represented on the footboard of the coffin, being carried to the tomb on the back of the Apis bull.

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Museum number

EA 27735

YCA63269

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