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Right Eye from an Anthropoid Coffin

Egyptian, Classical, Ancient Near Eastern Art

On View: Egypt Reborn: Art for Eternity, Temples and Tombs, Martha A. and Robert S. Rubin Gallery, 3rd Floor
Egyptians described their gods as having gold skin and lapis-lazuli hair, eyebrows, and eyelids. Thus, the colorful glass of this eye imitates the costly blue stone, implying that the deceased passed all the necessary ordeals and is now among the gods and equated with Osiris. The blue glass encases a stone white of the eye, which contains a separately carved black pupil.

A minute detail of a trace of red paint on the inner canthus (or corner) of the eye adds yet another naturalistic touch. The wedge-shaped convex eye undoubtedly made the coffin appear more realistic by drawing attention to the gaze.
MEDIUM Obsidian, crystalline limestone, blue glass
  • Place Made: Egypt
  • DATES 1539-30 B.C.
    PERIOD New Kingdom or later
    DIMENSIONS 13/16 x 2 5/16 x 1 in. (2.1 x 5.8 x 2.6 cm)  (show scale)
    ACCESSION NUMBER 37.1951E
    CREDIT LINE Charles Edwin Wilbour Fund
    RIGHTS STATEMENT Creative Commons-BY
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    CAPTION Right Eye from an Anthropoid Coffin, 1539-30 B.C. Obsidian, crystalline limestone, blue glass, 13/16 x 2 5/16 x 1 in. (2.1 x 5.8 x 2.6 cm). Brooklyn Museum, Charles Edwin Wilbour Fund, 37.1951E. Creative Commons-BY
    IMAGE overall, 37.1951E_view1_PS2.jpg. Brooklyn Museum photograph, 2009
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    RECORD COMPLETENESS Best (83%)
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