- Museum number
Painted wooden coffin containing the mummy of a hawk: the mummy is wrapped in linen bandages and possesses a finely detailed mask of wax, representing the face of Osiris. The mummy is placed inside a miniature anthropoid coffin of painted wood, which has the head of a falcon, probably alluding to the god Sokar, who usually took this form.
- Production date
Height: 58.40 centimetres
- Curator's comments
- Published: M. C. Centrone, Egyptian Corn Mummies: A Class of Religious Artefacts Catalogued and Systematically Analysed (Saarbruecken, VDM 2009), no. 22.
Osiris, supreme god of resurrection, was closely associated with the life-giving forces of nature, particularly the Nile and vegetation. Above all, he was connected with germinating grain. The emergence of a living, growing, plant from the apparently dormant seed hidden within the earth was regarded by the Egyptians as a metaphor for the rebirth of a human being from the lifeless husk of the corpse. The concept was translated into physical form by the fashioning of images of Osiris out of earth and grain. These "corn-mummies" were composed of sand or mud, mixed with grains of barley. They generally have Osirian attributes and are often represented with an erect penis, symbolizing fecundity. A few small figures of this type have been found within the wrappings of mummies, but in general they were not destined for the tomb. The majority were made according to an elaborate ritual which took place during the annual festival of Osiris in the month of Khoiak, the fourth month of the inundation season. This was intended to ensure the god's resurrection and, by extension, the continuation of life in Egypt and the maintenance of the ordered universe. The corn-mummies were then carefully buried in sacred spots specially designated for this purpose.
J.H. Taylor and N.C. Strudwick, Mummies: Death and the Afterlife in Ancient Egypt. Treasures from The British Museum, Santa Ana and London 2005, pp. 36-7, pl. on pp. 36-7.
- Not on display
- Exhibition history
2005-2008, California, The Bowers Museum, Death and Afterlife in Ancient Egypt
- Acquisition date
- Egypt and Sudan
- BM/Big number
- Registration number