wood, gesso, pigment
85.5 x 28.3 x 27.9 cm
Felton Bequest, 1939 (D97.a-c-1982)
The chest was intended to contain the wrapped and desiccated internal organs of its owner, which had been removed during mummification but which must be preserved and buried in the tomb. This tradition is known from Dynasty IV onwards, but towards the end of the New Kingdom in Dynasty XX their use was discontinued and the internal organs were buried with the body. But the widespread antiquarian interest and copying of ancient practices in the Late Period, canopic chest were once again used; this lasted until the Ptolemaic Period.
The form is that of a shrine with slightly tapering sides; the lid, which may not originally have been made for this chest, supports a finely painted figure of a falcon wearing a double-plumed headdress, representing Sokar, god of the cemeteries of Memphis. At the base is a stylised rendering of the serekh, the recessed panel facade that characterized royal architecture. Other architecture elements are the khekher friaze above the decorative panels.
At the point are two chequered panels that represent the door of the shrine. They support the figures of the unnamed owner of the chest kneeling in adoration of Osiris and Ra. The sides are similarly decorated with the djed and tyet symbols of Osiris and Isis, and an upper register with two of the four sons of Horus who protect the internal organs. The hieroglyphic texts on the front contain prayers for the well being of the chest’s owner.