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XVIIIth dynasties are imitations of those with the gilded featherwork and bright colours of the XIth and XIIth dynasties; at this period many articles of furniture, vases, etc., were placed in the mummy chamber, either near the
coffin or arranged by the walls. Coffins During the XVIIIth dynasty coffins were made very about about B.C. much larger, and were painted inside and outside in black; 1700.
the face is either gilded or coloured a bright red, the eyes are often inlaid; on the breast is a vulture, and the inscriptions, which divide the lower half of the cover into a series of rectangular sections, are painted in yellow.
With the XIXth dynasty there appears a class of coffin very beautiful to behold. Inside and outside both coffin and cover are profusely decorated with scenes of all kinds, large figures of gods and genii, vignettes from the Book of the Dead with appropriate inscriptions, and a number of emblems and decorations formed of rows of amulets, all painted in the brightest colours, and covered with a bright, yellow, shining varnish. Immediately over the mummy of a royal person, or of a wealthy man, was laid a slightly convex covering of wood, made in the form of a mummy, painted with the scenes alluded to above, and varnished. On the inside of this covering the boat of the sun, the mummy with plants growing
out from it, and other scenes were traced in yellow, on a The finest mauve or purple ground. The mummy and this covering made
were placed in a coffin with a cover having a human face, and about B.C the hands, in relief, were crossed upon the breast. The lower
part was ornamented with scenes in which the deceased is represented adoring various gods in shrines; these scenes are divided into two groups by one or more perpendicular lines of inscription which record the name and titles of the deceased. This coffin, with the mummy and its wooden covering, was then placed inside a larger coffin, upon the outside and inside of which were painted scenes similar to those on the inner coffin, but with less attention to details. The inside of the cover of the outer coffin was often left blank. A very fine example of a set of two coffins, and the wooden covering of the mummy, is that of Nesi-pa-ur-shefi, which is described in detail in the “Catalogue of the Egyptian
Antiquities in the Fitzwilliam Museum.” A third, and even a fourth, coffin was sometimes used for one mummy.
The coffins of the XXth dynasty are good imitations of the best examples of the XIXth dynasty ; the paintings are, however, neither so fine nor so carefully executed.
From the XX Ist to the XXVIth dynasty coffins exhibit Coffins many varieties of decoration ; they are sometimes painted about
B.C. 600. black, or the wood is left altogether in its natural colour, and the faces are often red. Sometimes they are painted with inscriptions in many colours on a white ground, and the scenes on the covers are divided into two groups by perpendicular inscriptions between them. Faces of coffins of this period are also flesh coloured and gilded, and the eyes, made of obsidian, are inlaid between eyelids of the same material or of bronze. Notwithstanding the fact that mummies of this period are protected by cartonnage cases, they are laid in two and even three coffins. Akhmîm coffins of this period are covered with rows of gods and elaborate collars, and are profusely inscribed with extracts from the Book of the Dead ; the mummies inside them have gilded masks and are usually covered with a network of glazed faïence bugle beads, upon which are laid figures of Nut and the four children of Horus in smaller bead work. These coffins belong to a class which has little in common either with those of Memphis or Thebes. Favourite scenes on coffins from the XXIInd to the XXVIth dynasties are the weighing of the heart, and the soul visiting the body.
After the XXVIth dynasty the art of coffin making Decay of degenerated, and as a result the examples of this period the manuknown to us exhibit rough and careless work, the scenes of coffins. the weighing of the heart, etc., spread right across the cover, and the inscriptions show that the copyist had very little or no knowledge of their meaning. On the other hand very handsome coffins, in the form of a man, in granite and basalt, became fashionable, and the high polish and beauty of the cutting of the figures, inscriptions, etc., show that although the art of mummifying was decaying, and the national religion of Egypt changing, attempts were made to imitate ancient art in its best forms.
Under the Ptolemies and Romans the forms of coffins and their decorations altered very much. Coffins are now made of thin pieces of wood, and are usually rectangular in shape, and the inscriptions upon them, like those on coffins of the earlier dynasties, are rarely extracts from the Book of the
Dead. Sandals, pillows, red pottery, and papyri were often Græco.
buried with the dead at this epoch. Stone coffins, covered Roman
a with figures and inscriptions, are also common, but they are their found chiefly in Lower Egypt. In the early centuries of decoration.
our era, the decay of the art of making coffins followed that of mummifying, and the coffins are large, badly shaped and ugly, the inscriptions upon them are copies of old formulæ, but so carelessly written and so full of mistakes that they are unintelligible. The custom of laying mummies in old tombs increased greatly, and chapels, serdâbs, pits and sarcophagi-chambers were alike used for piling up mummies by hundreds and thousands; and one single roll of papyrus or parchment laid in a tomb contained the names of all those who were buried there. This was practically the end of the Egyptian system of mummifying and burial. Within a hundred years of the preaching of Christianity at Alexandria by St. Mark, a large part of the population of Egypt had become Christian ; the resurrection of the body of Christ made the Egyptians hope for the resurrection of their own bodies, and though they could not eradicate from themselves all traces of their old belief, they abandoned gradually the making of their dead into mummies, and were content to lay their bodies in the earth, wrapped in linen cloths only, to await revivification.
Coffins of all periods were closed by dowels, let into cavities in the sides and cover, through which pegs of wood were driven; these were covered with plaster and painted, and were thus invisible.
Sarcophagi of the Ancient Empire.
SARCOPHAGI. Egyptian sarcophagi are made of black or green basalt, granite, agglomerate and limestone. During the first six dynasties they are rectangular, and the cover is either flat like a plank, or vaulted. Running round the edge of the
like a plank, or veurectangular, and the cong the first six
inside of the cover is a projection about two inches deep, which is carefully chiselled to fit a hollow corresponding in size in the sarcophagus, and after the cover was lowered upon it, a layer of fine cement was run in between, and the sarcophagus became hermetically sealed. Not content with this, holes were drilled sideways through the cover and the sarcophagus, and into these pegs of wood were driven. Covers have usually at each end one or more projections, whereby it is easy to lift them; the magnificent sarcophagus of Chufu-ānch (IVth dynasty), preserved at Gîzeh," has two rounded projections at each end of the cover. The sarcophagus of Mycerinus (IVth dynasty) found in his pyramid at Gîzeh resembled a small building; it was beautifully sculptured, but was absolutely without ornament. Sarcophagi of this period have their sides made to represent the openings, vestibules, and doors of mastabas, and the inscriptions upon them usually contain only the names and titles of their owners, and prayers that sepulchral gifts may be made to the deceased on the specified festivals. Of the sarcophagi of the VII-Xth dynasties nothing is known. During the XIth and XIIth dynasties, rectangular wooden Sar
home cophagi coffins seem to have superseded, in some measure, stone sarcophagi, royal examples of which of this period are Middle
Ein Empire. unknown. A granite sarcophagus of this period at Florence resembles in form, style of inscription, etc., those of the first six dynasties.
Sarcophagi from the XIIIth to the XVIIth dynasty are unknown.
In the XVIIIth dynasty the sarcophagi of Memphis are in the form of a mummy, and are made of granite ; they are very sparingly ornamented. A perpendicular line of inscription runs from the breast to the feet, and the surface of the cover on each side of it is divided by three or more lines of inscription at right angles to it into sections on which are inscribed figures of gods. The sarcophagus of Ai is a good example of the work of this period.
| For a cast see B.M. No: 1111.
In the XIXth dynasty sarcophagi become somewhat smaller, but otherwise differ very little from those of the
preceding dynasty. They are usually made of granite, Sar but alabaster, as in that of Seti I., was also used. This cophagus of Seti I. magnificent object and its cover were inscribed inside and
out with scenes and inscriptions from the “Book of being in the Underworld,” inlaid with a pigment of a light greenishblue colour. The cover was broken in trying to open it, but the sarcophagus itself is intact, and is preserved in Sir John Soane's Museum ; the inscriptions were published by Bonomi, Sarcophagus of Oi Meneptah, London, 1864, and for translations see Records of the Past, vol. X., pp. 79 ff. The chief idea which underlies these scenes is that, just as the life of a man is identified with the course of the sun by day, so the life of the soul after death is identified with the passage of the sun in the nether-world, through which he was supposed to travel during the night. The scenes represent the various parts of the nether-world, and the beings who dwell in them: Isis and Nephthys, Horus the son of Isis and Osiris, Seb and Nut, the four children of Horus, are all inscribed on sarcophagi of this period, and all were supposed to assist in protecting the deceased, who was identified with Osiris. In this dynasty, large, painted, wooden sarcophagi, in the form of mummies, are also common at
Thebes. Cover of In the XXth dynasty, granite was much used for sarcoSarcophagus
phagi, but the form has changed, and the deceased is of Ra represented lying on the cover. He wears a thick, square meses III.
beard, his hands are freed from their bandages, and hold in them 7, 8, and %; beneath the long tunic the feet appear, and on the sides of the sarcophagus are figures of the four children of Horus and of other funereal gods. A most interesting example of this period is the sarcophagus of Rameses III., which is made in the form of a cartouche O ; the cover is preserved in the Fitzwilliam Museum (for a description of it see the Catalogue), and the sarcophagus is in the Museum of the Louvre. On the head, outside, is the figure of Nephthys, with outstretched wings, emblematic