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Image of a Ba-bird on a Headboard from a Coffin

Egyptian, Classical, Ancient Near Eastern Art

The human-headed bird represents the ba-soul, part of the Egyptian soul that could leave the tomb and travel both in this world and in the afterlife. The ancient Egyptians recited spells to ensure that the ba returned to the mummy, its natural home, from its various journeys.
MEDIUM Wood, gesso, pigment
  • Place Made: Egypt
  • DATES ca. 945–712 B.C.E.
    DYNASTY Dynasty 22
    PERIOD Third Intermediate Period
    DIMENSIONS 11 x 12 5/8 x 5 5/8 in., 5 lb. (28 x 32.1 x 14.3 cm, 2.27kg)  (show scale)
    CREDIT LINE Charles Edwin Wilbour Fund
    CATALOGUE DESCRIPTION One semi-circular segment from a wooden coffin. Stuccoed and brightly painted. On inner surface a well preserved representation of a human faced Ba Bird with outstretched wings. On back surface, which is less well preserved, a “blood of Isis knot” centrally placed and flanked by representations of seated of seated gods enclosed in architectural elements geometrically rendered. Two holes on each end side for attachment and two holes in bottom end. Condition: Many areas of paint are delicate. Paint color well preserved and covered on several small areas with varnish.
    MUSEUM LOCATION This item is not on view
    CAPTION Image of a Ba-bird on a Headboard from a Coffin, ca. 945–712 B.C.E. Wood, gesso, pigment, 11 x 12 5/8 x 5 5/8 in., 5 lb. (28 x 32.1 x 14.3 cm, 2.27kg). Brooklyn Museum, Charles Edwin Wilbour Fund, 75.27. Creative Commons-BY (Photo: Brooklyn Museum, 75.27_front_PS2.jpg)
    IMAGE front, 75.27_front_PS2.jpg. Brooklyn Museum photograph, 2007
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    RIGHTS STATEMENT Creative Commons-BY
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