Egypt, possibly Thebes
Lid from the inner anthropoid coffin of Iret~[en]~Hor~eru
Third Intermediate Period
early Dynasty XXVI
Wood, linen, gesso, pigment
21.5 X 42.4 X 70.5 CM
To offer greater protection within the tomb, a body could be placed within sets of coffins. This is the lid from an inner coffin in human form that would have contained the owner’s body and which was then placed within the outer coffin. It is more elaborately painted than the outer coffin in a series of horizontal registers with scenes and inscriptions.
The face of the owner is painted red, the conventional color used for men’s skin, the eyebrows are black as are the cosmetic lines around the eyes and the pupils. He wears a striped, lappet head cover and a floral collar over his shoulders. Below the latter is the kneeling figure of the goddess Nut with her wings outstretched in a gesture of protection; she is supported upon the hieroglyphic for gold.
The decoration on the body is arranged as though it is upon panels framed by the bangles with which the actual body was wrapped. In the uppermost we see the deceased before Osiris and Ra, who, from Dynasty XVIII, were assimilated to form the nightly and daily manifestations of the creator god. This is a figure of a squatting falcon on a basket, representing Sokar who, like Osiris, was a god of resurrection, and then an image of the mummy of the deceased upon a lion bed under which are five jars. Finally, we encounter the tall fetish that represents Abydos, one of the main cult centers of Osiris and where it was thought he was buried.