An Egyptian Anthropoid Wood Sarcophagus for Padi-ef-pa-khasef, 26th Dynasty ca. 664 - 525 BCE

Object No: EW911

An anthropoid wood and gesso painted coffin, mummiform in shape, thus omitting the indication of arms or hands and ‘standing’ upon a pedestal.  Such pedestal coffins were adopted as innermost coffins from the XXVth Dynasty.  The notion of multiple coffins for the elite was initially introduced in the Libyan Period (from the reign of Orsokon I in Dynasty XXII) for officials and priests in Thebes and Middle Egypt.   The absence of hands, elbows or arms is an archaising trait that appears to imitate royal XVIIIth Dynasty coffins and was also adopted from Orsokon’s reign for use by similar officials.  This style continued in use well into the Ptolemaic period.

The coffin portrays the deceased adult male, Padiefpakhasef, his face with inlaid alabaster and obsidian almond-shaped eyes rimmed by bronze, projecting outward to form cosmetic lines, each with a separately-made bronze eyebrow.  He wears a large striped tri-partite wig, a long plaited false beard ‘held’ in place by straps and an extremely large multistrand ornamental (wesekh) collar that reaches to waist level.  Such large collars first appear on coffins of the early XXVDynasty and are still in evidence into Dynasty XXX.   The very low slung appearance of this wesekh collar is especially pronounced, even by XXV-XXXVIth Dynasty standards, and may indicate a regional style.

The yellow background, adopted in the XXVIth Dynasty, imitates coffins of the late XVIIIth Dynasty with hieroglyphs applied in blue/black.  Colours applied to the religious iconography are blue/green, red and black.  Beneath the large wesekh collar is the central figure of a bearded ba bird facing the deceased’s left.  It is shown crowned with solar disc, a tied head band and a beard ‘attached’ by a strap.   Each claw grasps a shen (eternity) sign and maat (truth) feathers in each hand that face inwards.    On either side of the ba, a hawk/falcon is shown seated upon a dias. The deity may represent Soped, Horus of Nekhen or Ra. Behind this deity is shown the sundisc with uraeus representing the god Ra.

Email me: for a more detailed description, together with full translation.

 For a related example, see Christies NY Antiquities, December 5-6, 2001, lot #351

Condition:  Weathered.  Professionally rejoined with restoration to left shoulder, age appropriate cracking, minor repairs and overpainting in various places. 

Dimensions:  Height:  189cm  Width:  51cm

Provenance:  Full provenance provided upon request to serious inquiries.



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