Outer coffin of Sebekhetepi

From the tomb of Sebekhetepi, Beni Hasan, Egypt
Middle Kingdom, about 2125-1795 BC

Painted wooden rectangular outer coffin

The outer coffin of Sebekhetepi is constructed from sycomore fig, a type of wood which was locally available. It is used extensively throughout his funerary equipment. Unlike other outer coffins, where the decoration is usually juxtaposed with the plain wood, the exterior of the Sebekhetepi's coffin is painted yellow. In ancient Egypt yellow was associated with the sun, and a substitute for gold.

The main features of the external decoration are the border in red, blue-green and white, and the wedjat eyes. These eyes were placed on one of the long sides of the coffin, which would have faced east. This was so that the deceased, placed on his side within the coffin, could watch the sun rise. The inscriptions are in pale blue, a colour often chosen for hieroglyphs, against a white background. They consist of the request for offerings from the funerary gods Osiris and Anubis, typical of the coffins of the Middle Kingdom (about 2040-1750 BC).

The decoration of the interior is similarly austere. It consists of friezes of offerings, and inscriptions taken from the Coffin Texts. However, it has no maps of the Underworld, which appear on the outer coffin of Gua (also in The British Museum).

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Height: 86.400 cm
Width: 63.500 cm
Length: 203.800 cm

Museum number

EA 41571



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