Egypt, Third Intermediate Period, 22nd to 24th Dynasty, ca. 945 to 732 BCE. A life-size, wooden coffin cover adorned with gesso over linen, with an overall beige ground having a golden-brown complexion with finely painted and modeled features including wide open eyes gazing steadfastly ahead, framed by elegant brows that lead to a straight nose, and gently smiling lips above a pointy chin, the visage further adorned by a tripartite headdress/wig, covered with painted 'inlaid' square and rectangular stones delineated in azure blue and russet red over creamy white and a 'beaded' band of the same color scheme with a large black scarab as its centerpiece. Decorating the chest is a wide, pectoral, intricately detailed with registers of 'beaded' and 'inlaid' motifs in this same beautiful color scheme as well as a large "X" motif at the center. Below, the body is painted with a black silhouette of Anubis sitting in profile above a large vertical glyph band that states that an offering is given by Anubis. Size: 11.5" W x 47" H (29.2 cm x 119.4 cm); 47.375" H (120.3 cm) on included custom stand.
Anthropoid Egyptian coffins first appeared by the Middle Kingdom - skillfully carved so as to outline the mummy's body and decorated with the visage and wig of the deceased individual. Such coffins not only served to copy the mummy's form kept within, but also served as actual substitutes for the bodies in the event that the mummy's body was lost or destroyed. As time progressed, these coffins were decorated with more extensive iconographic programs, presenting a greater number of inscriptions and scenes as we see in this example.
Provenance: private Davis collection, Houston, Texas, USA; ex-private European collection, acquired from the European art market; ex-private Switzerland collection, 1980
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