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Coffin Texts from the Tomb of Harhotep

Egyptian, Classical, Ancient Near Eastern Art

On View: Old Kingdom to 18th Dynasty, Egyptian Galleries, 3rd Floor
Egyptians believed that placing certain funerary texts close to the body could help the spirit of the deceased continue his or her existence in the afterlife. Originally these texts were used exclusively in the pyramids of kings and queens, but in the Middle Kingdom they were adapted for use in the tombs of non-royal individuals. Inscribed primarily on coffin interiors, they became known as Coffin Texts. While Coffin Texts occur mostly on wooden coffins, here they are found on a limestone wall.
MEDIUM Limestone, pigment
  • Place Made: Egypt
  • DATES ca. 2008–1630 B.C.E.
    DYNASTY Dynasty 11
    PERIOD Middle Kingdom
    DIMENSIONS 39 x 3 7/8 x 20 3/4 in. (99.1 x 9.9 x 52.7 cm)  (show scale)
    CREDIT LINE Charles Edwin Wilbour Fund
    CATALOGUE DESCRIPTION A block from tomb of Harhotep, whose sarcophagus chamber from Thebes in now in the Cairo Museum. End wall of a small sarcophagus chamber. Large block of limestone squared on the bottom and ends, the top slightly rounded: one side roughly hewn, the other with a smooth, stuccoed surface, painted with brightly colored checked borders along both sides, and the space between nearly filled with hieroglyphic texts in fine writing in columns. Texts consist of chapters from Book of the Dead. Colors: In squares of border red at top, yellow at bottom, betw. green (?). ((-the Cairo Museum Horhotep is a different individual. The text on this block are Coffin Texts - YB 2015)) Condition: Lower part of the stone blackened so that end of each line is illegible. Back roughly dressed and uneven. Side edges not complete – broken roughly but not much lost for front with block of inscription and side borders is nearly complete.
    MUSEUM LOCATION This item is on view in Old Kingdom to 18th Dynasty, Egyptian Galleries, 3rd Floor
    CAPTION Coffin Texts from the Tomb of Harhotep, ca. 2008–1630 B.C.E. Limestone, pigment, 39 x 3 7/8 x 20 3/4 in. (99.1 x 9.9 x 52.7 cm). Brooklyn Museum, Charles Edwin Wilbour Fund, 37.1507E. Creative Commons-BY (Photo: Brooklyn Museum, 37.1507E_NegA_acetate_SL1.jpg)
    IMAGE overall, 37.1507E_NegA_acetate_SL1.jpg. Brooklyn Museum photograph
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    RIGHTS STATEMENT Creative Commons-BY
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