In the mid-nineteenth century the first cataloguer of this fine cartonnage described it as "a magnificent mummy of a young priest." Although the lack of an inscription giving a name and title makes identification difficult, the delicate features of the face and the absence of a beard indicate that the owner was really a woman.
The decoration of the cartonnage exemplifies the way that the painters of the Third Intermediate Period made use of the rich iconography available to them. The visual program makes inscriptions superfluous. Three bands on the front, as well as a number of bands on the side, show protective deities holding knives, clearly guardians of the deceased against malevolent beings. The upper register on the front shows the Four Sons of Horus, deities also associated with the powers of protection. In the center of each of the three central bands are representations of the deceased in a kiosk on a bier, Osiris as a human-headed djed-pillar, and the bark of Ptah-Sokar-Osiris in a shrine. This assemblage of images underscores the funerary beliefs of protection, permanence, and resurrection.
Cartonnage, with mummy, of a man. Decorated with figures of various deities, etc. Inner coffin: Small panels with gods - minor spirits, some unnamed - and demons, some of them accompanied by symbols for identification - separated by bands of conventional clocked pattern. Top: Four main scenes over body sep. by clocked borders with 3 rows of imitation of stone inlay of wedge shaped units that sometimes adorned expensive coffins, at ends of which are either 4 gods of Dead or 2 winged genii Center - the symbol of Abydos - a primitive fetish who originally was composed of a wig up on a pole with 2 feathers on top as a headdress, flanked on both sides by winged uraei, 2 figures of Osiris and Isis, 4 sons of Horus standing, 2 on either side. Mummy with beard on a bris under a catafalque both elaborately decorated. Isis and Nephthys kneel on stools of similar patterns placed at head and feet. At foot is Anubis also with his symbol - 4 sons of Horus seated in corners with knives. Ded symbol of Osiris with human head and arms (before him headdress of Amon-Re?) with Horus flanked by winged genii and sacred eyes. Shrine with boat of Sokar Clairis 6 small panels on lower legs: 2 with winged crowned vultures, 2 cont. 4 gods of Dead, 2 with panels on feet with jackals. Condition: Some chips and scratches; basically good.