Height: 119.400 cm
Length: 274.400 cm (max.)
Width: 139.700 cm (max.)
Gift of King George III
Room 4: Egyptian sculpture
Sarcophagus of Hapmen
Found in Cairo, Egypt
26th Dynasty or later, 600-300 BC
Also known as the 'Lover's fountain'
This large stone
The exterior is decorated with texts and figures of various funerary deities. The design, and the texts that do not refer to Hapmen (the owner of the tomb) are almost exact copies of those on the sarcophagus found in the tomb of King Thutmose III (1479-1425 BC) in the Valley of the Kings. Since no other copy of this sarcophagus type is known in the intervening period (over 800 years), it seems that either someone visited the royal tomb and took the design back, or an original design for the sarcophagus was uncovered. Either way, it was used in a monument consciously intended to recall the style of an earlier period.
It is a fascinating example of the continuity of Egyptian practice, spread over both time and place, since it is most probable that Hapmen was buried somewhere in the Saqqara/Giza or Lower Egypt area. However, his tomb has never been found, and it is not known how the sarcophagus reached Cairo.
The sarcophagus came
to the British Museum from the French after the
W.C. Hayes, Royal sarcophagi of the XVIII (Princeton, 1935)
T.G.H. James, Ancient Egypt: the land and it (London, 1988)