Collection online

coffin

  • Object type

  • Museum number

    EA6647

  • Description

    Wooden anthropoid coffin, restored from fragments, made to contain the body of King Menkaure (Mycerinus) of the Fourth Dynasty. It is of simple form, representing the dead ruler in the shroud and tripartite wig of a transfigured being. The plain surface is relieved only by a hieroglyphic inscription carved in two columns down the centre of the lid. It reads: 'O the Osiris King of Upper and Lower Egypt Menkaure, living forever, born of the sky, conceived by Nut, heir [of Geb] .....: Your mother Nut spreads herself over you in her name of 'Mystery of Heaven'. She has made you a god, [whose enemies do not exist], King of Upper and Lower Egypt Menkaure, living forever.' This is a version of a much-copied inscription, found as early as the Pyramid Texts, which invokes the maternal sky-goddess Nut to protect the king and ensure his resurrection.

    The coffin is constructed from several different kinds of wood. The larger components are all of juniper and fir. Local timbers (sycomore fig and tamarisk) were used to make some of the dowels and tenons with which the planks are joined together.

    The coffin was not part of the original funerary equipment of Menkaure, but was made for a later restoration of his burial, as indicated by both stylistic and epigraphic evidence (see Comment).

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  • Culture/period

  • Findspot

  • Materials

  • Dimensions

    • Length: 166 centimetres (as mounted)
  • Inscriptions

      • Inscription Type

        inscription
      • Inscription Script

        hieroglyphic
  • Curator's comments

    PM III (2): 34.
    Vyse and Perring, Operations, II, 86, 87, 93-6, pl. opp. 94.
    Birch, ZAS 7 (1869), 49-50.
    Sethe, ZAS 30 (1892), 94-8.
    British Museum, A Handbook to the Egyptian Mummies and Coffins exhibited in the British Museum (1938), 21-23, pl. VIII;
    T G Allen, Occurrences of Pyramid Texts (1950), 28-9; C M Zivie-Coche, Giza au premier millenaire (1991): 97-101;
    J. Taylor in N. Strudwick, Masterpieces of Ancient Egypt, London 2006, pp. 264-5.

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  • Bibliography

    • Shaw & Nicholson 1995 p181 bibliographic details
    • Strudwick 2006 pp.264-265 bibliographic details
  • Location

    On display: G63/dc14

  • Condition

    fair (incomplete)

  • Associated names

  • Acquisition name

  • Acquisition date

    1838

  • Department

    Ancient Egypt & Sudan

  • BM/Big number

    EA6647

  • Registration number

    1838,0113.2

Six fragments of a wooden anthropoid coffin; incised Hieroglyphic text.

Six fragments of a wooden anthropoid coffin; incised Hieroglyphic text.

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Object reference number: YCA51607

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