What just happened?

To celebrate Vikings Live, we have replaced our Roman alphabet with the runic alphabet used by the Vikings, the Scandinavian ‘Younger Futhark’. The ‘Younger Futhark’ has only 16 letters, so we have used some of the runic letters more than once or combined two runes for one Roman letter.

For an excellent introduction to runes, we recommend Martin Findell’s book published by British Museum Press.

More information about how we have ‘runified’ this site

 

Collection online

Additional options
Production date to

Or search by

Searching...

sarcophagus

  • Object type

  • Museum number

    EA17

  • Description

    Black siltstone base and lid of the anthropoid sarcophagus of Sasobek, northern vizier of Egypt during the reign of Psamtek I: the lid is finely carved, showing the deceased wearing wig, beard and collar and with two vertical registers of hieroglyphic offering texts, surmounted by a figure of Nut.

  • Culture/period

  • Date

    • 600BC (circa)
  • Findspot

  • Materials

  • Technique

  • Dimensions

    • Length: 225 centimetres
  • Inscriptions

      • Inscription Type

        inscription
      • Inscription Script

        hieroglyphic
      • Inscription Position

        lid
      • Inscription Comment

        Two vertical registers of hieroglyphs.
  • Curator's comments

    Published:
    PM IV, p.48;
    M-L. Buhl, The Late Egyptian Anthropoid Stone Sarcophagi (København 1959), 120-1;
    N. Strudwick, Masterpieces of Ancient Egypt, London 2006, pp. 266-7.Strudwick N 2006
    The heyday of the anthropoid stone sarcophagus was after 700 BC, in the Late Period. Sasobek's sarcophagus is one of the finest examples of its type to have survived. It is of a relatively unusual type - finely detailed false divine beards are uncommon on such sarcophagi. Many other examples of this period display rather exaggerated wide facial features, but Sasobek's face is naturalistic (although not a portrait) and serene. The large ears may hint at some archaizing inspiration from monuments of the Middle Kingdom. The sarcophagus is in a superb state of preservation, having suffered damage only to the tip of the beard and the left side of the wig. Sasobek holds the djed pillar of Osiris in his right hand and the knot of Isis in his left. These amuletic symbols would grant him the stability and protection associated with the two deities. A broad collar runs across his shoulders, and below his hands is a kneeling winged figure of the goddess Nut, with her arms spread protectively across the body. Below the goddess are two columns of hieroglyphs, consisting of offering formulae, names, and titles.

    The style of the sarcophagus suggests a date in the middle of the seventh century BC or a little later. Sasobek's principal title was that of vizier, and it seems most likely that he served in the reign of Psamtek I (664-610 BC). The provenance of this sarcophagus is less than certain. Thebes has been suggested as one possibility, although very few stone sarcophagi of this date have been unambiguously identified as coming from there, and this seems most unlikely. Similar sarcophagi come from the Memphite necropolis, and Sais, the city from which Psamtek's family came, has also been suggested; one of Sasobek's titles associates him with Neith, the goddess of Sais, although this does not necessarily indicate a Saite provenance. Sasobek's son Horwedja is known from a statue in Baltimore (Walters Art Gallery 154); he bears titles associated with both the Memphite region and with Neith.

    More 

  • Bibliography

    • Strudwick 2006 pp.266-267 bibliographic details
  • Location

    G4/B5

  • Condition

    fair

  • Associated names

  • Acquisition name

  • Acquisition date

    1839

  • Department

    Ancient Egypt & Sudan

  • BM/Big number

    EA17

  • Registration number

    1839,0921.1190

  • Additional IDs

    • ES.17

Feedback

If you’ve noticed a mistake or have any further information about this object, please email: collectiondatabase@britishmuseum.org 

View open data for this object with SPARQL endpoint

Object reference number: YCA55417

British Museum collection data is also available in the W3C open data standard, RDF, allowing it to join and relate to a growing body of linked data published by organisations around the world.

View this object

Support the Museum:
donate online

The Museum makes its collection database available to be used by scholars around the world. Donations will help support curatorial, documentation and digitisation projects.

About the database

The British Museum collection database is a work in progress. New records, updates and images are added every week.

More about the database 

Supporters

Work on this database is supported by a range of sponsors, donors and volunteers.

More about supporters and how you
can help  

Loading...