Egyptian Sarcophagus Panel

Egyptian Sarcophagus Panel
From the 3rd Intermediate Period (Dynasties XXI-XXIV), c. 1070-714 B.C.

Depictions on coffins are intended to assist the deceased on his or her journey through the afterlife. These scenes are painted directly on a thin layer of plaster that covers a cedar interior. Because of Egypt’s desert climate, trees are scarce. It is likely that the materials used to produce this sarcophagus were imported from Lebanon.

Thousands of years have reduced the brilliance of the colors. Garish yellows and reds once illuminated the panel. Done by an amateur artist, likely an apprentice supervised by a master, the figures are crude.

“The scene that covers this panel is common to many Egyptian religious rite items. Two mummified male figures, each with the traditional false beard and red hair ribbons, face left, while a woman kneels in front of them. Her raised arm and hand, the outline of her face and ear, and her dark hard are about all that remain visible. Above her head and in front of the first figure’s face is the end of a staff upon which the ankh—the sign of life—is looped.

“Between the two mummified figures is a pole with the hide of a spotted cow tied to it. This is the “Anubis Pole,” Anubis being the god of embalming. On the far right is the djed pillar with the uppermost of its four crossbars missing but with a stripped cloth banner hanging down. This was associated with Osiris, the great god of the dead. The djed was considered necessary to aid in the transformation of human flesh into the spiritual form assumed by the deceased in eternity.

“Above their heads are hieroglyphs that form part of lengthy standard texts that promise the deceased a happy life in the next world. At the top is a row of uraeus (cobra) heads and maat feathers, symbols of the orderly travel of the sun through the sky” (Goodstein).

Goodstein, Mark. "Collecting Antiques, Fine Art & Decorative Art: Trocadero Online Mall." N.p., 2016. Web. 07 Oct. 2016.
Date Created
1070-714 B.C.
Geographical Coverage
Sarcophagus panel
Collecting Areas
English History of Writing Collection
Ancient Egyptian
Cedar, plaster, paint
From a New Jersey private collection, authenticated and sold by Mark Goodstein, The Showplace Antique Center
Sarcophagus panel

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