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Ibis Coffin

Animal mummies were routinely placed in some type of container once the animal had been wrapped in linen. The more ordinary containers were specially designed or reused pottery jars. Such objects have been found by the tens of thousands in so-called animal cemeteries at a number of sites in Egypt.

At times elaborate coffins were crafted to hold the animal mummies. Just as human coffins were anthropoid, 50 animal coffins took the form of the animal contained. The ibis mummy held by this coffin was placed within through the detachable lid on the back. The gilding of the body and the exquisite detailing of the head, legs, and feet make this example one of the finest of its kind.

Catalogue Description:
Standing figure of an ibis serving as container for mummified ibis. Wooden body, entire surface gilded. Conventionalized tail indicated by black paint over the gilt. Top of body cut for cover which runs entire length of body. Head and feet cast (solid?) in silver. Eyes of crystal outlined in gold. Incised necklace at base of neck. Mounted on oblong wooden base, apparently original, of rough work. Mummified ibis within body. Condition: Intact. Minor chips along edges of cover. One section on front of body where gesso base has lifted and cracked. Gilt is covered with resin (?) which may be remains of a varnish.


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