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Bird Coffin of Iihetek

Egyptian, Classical, Ancient Near Eastern Art

This extraordinary coffin contained two small bird mummies. It is shaped like an Egyptian shrine and decorated with images of the goddesses of mourning, Isis and Nephthys. The rear of the coffin displays a djed-pillar, a symbol of Osiris often found on the back of human coffins. The reasons why the man named Iihetek had this unusual coffin type made remain unclear.
MEDIUM Copper alloy, animal remains (2 individuals), linen
  • Reportedly From: Saqqara, Egypt
  • DATES 664–30 B.C.E.
    DYNASTY Dynasty 26, or later
    PERIOD Late Period to Ptolemaic Period
    DIMENSIONS 15 1/4 x 3 1/2 x 2 11/16 in. (38.7 x 8.9 x 6.8 cm)  (show scale)
    ACCESSION NUMBER 37.1391Ea-b
    CREDIT LINE Charles Edwin Wilbour Fund
    CATALOGUE DESCRIPTION One upright member of a coffin or shrine (37.1391Ea) bearing an inscription. "An utterance of Osiris Wenenafer, the great god, lord of eternity Yen Thik son of pen-weben-ta nakhty and (mother?) and grandfather name……born of Anubis who was begotten of Sebu." Condition: Broken off from the horizontal lower member. Convex side of coffin faces front. Patina is gone, stripped to bear metal. Some pitting of the surface due to improper casting. Deeply engraved relief in good condition as is the bronze in general.
    MUSEUM LOCATION This item is not on view
    CAPTION Bird Coffin of Iihetek, 664–30 B.C.E. Copper alloy, animal remains (2 individuals), linen, 15 1/4 x 3 1/2 x 2 11/16 in. (38.7 x 8.9 x 6.8 cm). Brooklyn Museum, Charles Edwin Wilbour Fund, 37.1391Ea-b. Creative Commons-BY (Photo: Brooklyn Museum, 37.1391Ea-b_NegA_SL4.jpg)
    IMAGE overall, unedited master file, 37.1391Ea-b_NegA_SL4.jpg. Brooklyn Museum photograph
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    RIGHTS STATEMENT Creative Commons-BY
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