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Bird Coffin of Iihetek

Egyptian, Classical, Ancient Near Eastern Art

On the sides of this model coffin are the two preeminent goddesses of mourning, Isis and Nephthys. They were the sisters of Osiris, lord of the dead, and Isis was also his wife. On real coffins and sarcophagi, they guard the head and foot ends. On the back here is a large djed-pillar, which was sometimes thought to be the backbone of Osiris, symbolizing strength and stability. The coffin may have held either protective spells from the Book of the Dead or mummified organs of the deceased.

MEDIUM Copper alloy, animal remains (2 individuals), linen
  • Possible Place Made: 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)
    MUSEUM LOCATION This item is not on view
    ACCESSION NUMBER 37.1391Ea-b
    CREDIT LINE Charles Edwin Wilbour Fund
    RIGHTS STATEMENT Creative Commons-BY
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    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
    IMAGE component, 37.1391Ea_view1_Gavin_Ashworth_photograph.jpg. Brooklyn Museum photograph (Gavin Ashworth, photographer), 2012
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    RECORD COMPLETENESS Good (71%)
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