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Studies

Ancient Art and Antiquities are usually blessed with stories of mythical proportions. Take Anubis, the god who presided over embalming, and especially a god of the dead. His cult was very general throughout Egypt, but it seems to have had its centre at Lycopolis (Asyut). There was also a Lycopolis in the Delta where he was worshipped, and this fact may have given rise to the apparent doubling of the god, for the tests speak of Anubis of the north and Anubis of the south. He is said to be the son of Osiris and Nephthys, and to have swallowed his father Osiris. He is the protective god of the Valley of the Kings at Thebes.

Sarcophagi are among the most fascinating and attractive of Ancient Egyptian antiquities. Survey suggests that they are among the top must-see travel deals while in Egypt aside from the Sphinx and the great Pyramids of Giza. They tell us much of value concerning the materials and techniques used by the Ancient craftsmen and they constitute one of the richest sources of information about the Egyptians' religious concepts, providing a wealth of pictorial and textual evidence for the development of beliefs about the afterlife.

The attribution of coffins to the main phases of Egyptian civilization is relatively easy, since the shape and general appearance usually provide a rough guide. But to determine the date of a coffin more precisely evidence of all kinds has to be taken into account: the archaeological context, the constructional techniques, the layout of the designs, the color scheme employed, the decorative subject matter, the iconography of gods, goddesses and religious symbols, the choice of texts used, and so on, while to make matters more complicated some stylistic features were deliberately revived long after their original appearance.

My interest in mummycartonnages as an antiquities dealer comes from a both historical as esthetical interests. In the southern part of Egypt, a major change occurred in the second half of the tenth century BC, affecting all aspects of funerary equipment. It is at Thebes that this change can be observed most clearly. At the beginning of the Twenty-second Dynasty The shape of the wooden coffins was simplified. Instead of the old ensemble of one or two coffins and a mummy-board, Theban priests and officials were now provided with one, two or three wooden coffins and a one-piece cartonnage mummy case as an innermost envelope for the body. These cartonnage cases, which are typical of the Libyan Period, are interesting both for the ingenious method of their manufacture and for the very attractive painted scenes with which they are decorated. Although some cartonnages fit very closely around the mummy, in others the body is found to be considerably shorter than the case.