Exhibitions: To Live Forever: Art and the Afterlife in Ancient Egypt

Anthropoid Coffin of the Servant of the Great Place, Teti

All Egyptians after the New Kingdom desired a coffin representing them as Osiris. Although the coffin stands for the box that Seth used to trap Osiris, in the tomb the coffin protects the person who will become Osiris.

This coffin was made for Teti, a “Servant of the Great Place.” This title was used by artisans who painted tombs in the Valley of the Kings and lived in Deir el-Medina. As a middle-class artisan, he paid nearly a year’s salary for a coffin of this quality. He was able to use five different paint colors to decorate his wooden coffin, including blue, yellow, red, black, and white. He paid separately for each paint color. The yellow background paint with red streaks is used to imitate the gilded coffins of the wealthy.