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Head end of a yellow coffin box

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Object name: Head end of a yellow coffin box

Accession no.: E.1.2004

Other numbers and markings: tbd

Dimensions: H 27 cm W 29 cm D 32 cm

Brief description:

This fragment of a painted anthropoid coffin belonged to the head end of a 21st Dynasty. The inside is decorated with an image of a ba-bird and the outside is decorated with a text, which is covered by a thick pitch-like substance. The ba bird on the inside is shown with a frontal face. His wings are spread and painted in red and black. The face of the ba bird is yellow. On either side is shown a sitting mummy form figure with a feather in the hands. Next to the wings are shown offerings. The ba bird in this position on the inside of a box coffin is common on other coffins of the period.

This fragment is roughly fashioned from five pieces of cedar and sycomore fig, joined with sycomore fig dowels. A thick layer of coarse brown paste mixed with chopped vegetable fibres was used to build up the sides and make good termite damage and other deficiencies in the wood. A thin white calcite and calcium sulphate paste was applied over this.

There is a red underdrawing on the interior, a yellow background and red, blue (Egyptian blue) and green (severely darkened) paint. Decorative elements are outlined in black and red. A yellow pistacia varnish has been selectively applied to the surface. The outside is covered with an original (but not fully identified) black coating, making it difficult to see the decoration. Nevertheless, red outlining is visible and VIL images show that there is an intricate design worked in Egyptian blue, including a block border, vertical bands of hieroglyphs and at least one figure.

As on Nespawershefyt’s inner coffin, the inside has a depiction of a ba spirit flying up from the body.

Date: About 955–735 BC

Find spot: Not known


Given by Mrs Anne Peers with her brother and sister

Property of Mrs Peers’ parents. Mrs Peers and her siblings know that it has been in their possession from at least the 1950’s.

Construction, decoration and materials:

Other information


Head end of a yellow coffin box front inner view

Head end of a yellow coffin box side inner view

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