Description This coffin, made for a man named Rehu-er-djer-sen, is an early form of burial container. The exterior was left largely unpainted, perhaps because it was made from expensive, imported cedar wood. The interior is painted with brightly colored objects and offerings considered essential to a wealthy burial. "Coffin Texts," common to coffins of the early Middle Kingdom, were written on the wood to help the owner gain access to the afterlife. The texts are a series of magical spells intended to safeguard the body and spirit of the deceased and ensure resurrection. Deities were also depicted from the myth of Osiris that guaranteed protection. In the afterlife, the individual was to travel the heavens with the sun-god Re. Hieroglyphic inscriptions on the exterior of the coffin include a prayer to Osiris for funerary offerings. Along the floor of the coffin flows the Nile of the underworld. Rehu-er-djer-sen would have lain on his side so he might see the world through the eyes painted on the outside of the coffin.
Splinters and mobile cracks at edges consolidated for safe handling.
- In Search of Ancient Treasure: 40 Years of Collecting. The Walters Art Gallery, Baltimore. 1978.
Provenance Lady Meux, London [date and mode of acquisition unknown]; William Randolf Hearst, California [date and mode of acquisition unknown]; Joseph Brummer, New York and Paris, 1940, by purchase [Brummer inv. no. N4666]; Brummer Estate Sale, New York, 1949, pt. II, no. 70; Walters Art Museum, 1949, by purchase.
Inscriptions The inscriptions contain offering formulas, spells of the coffin texts, and names the owner Rehu-er-djer-sen.
Credit Museum purchase, 1949
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