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Painted wooden coffin: E.68.1903

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Object information

Current Location: Gallery 19


Painted wooden coffin




Rectangular wooden box coffin with lid made for a woman called Nakht, a ‘lady of the house’. The coffin dates to the Middle Kingdom (about 1915 - 1870 BC) and is painted polychrome. There is some water damage to one side. The inscriptions tell us that she was the daughter of a person named Warti-hetep (the tomb in which her coffin was found contained three other burials, perhaps of family members). All four sides of the coffin are decorated with the palace façade motif and with inscriptions appealing to gods, including Osiris and Anubis, for offerings to be provided for Nakht in the afterlife. The inscription on the side decorated with eyes uses the phrase ‘for the ka of’, indicating explicitly that the offerings were for the benefit of Nakht’s ka spirit. A major change from these standard texts, however, is to be found in the first line of inscription on the lid of the coffin: here Nakht herself is addressed as ‘the Osiris’. It also appeals to the goddess Nut to spread herself over Nakht, causing her to be a ‘god without enemies’. The vertical texts on the sides of the coffins mention other gods, including the Sons of Horus, who provided protection for the dead person within the coffin. Studies of the coffin’s construction reveals that there are a number of redundant dowel holes, especially on the back panel and parts of the lid. This suggests that some of the wood of this coffin was recycled. The style and texts of this coffin are similar to the outer coffin of Userhet, whose coffin is now in the Garstang Museum, Liverpool.

Measurements and weight

Height: 0.545 m
Length: 1.855 m
Width: 0.438 m

Find spot

Acquisition and important dates

Method of acquisition: Given (1903) by The Beni Hasan Excavation Committee


12th Dynasty#
Middle Kingdom
-1915 BCE - -1870 BCE

Materials used in production


References and bibliographic entries

Related exhibitions

Identification numbers

Accession number: E.68.1903
Primary reference Number: 50673
Stable URI

Audit data

Created: Saturday 6 August 2011 Updated: Friday 26 March 2021 Last processed: Friday 8 December 2023

Associated departments & institutions

Owner or interested party: The Fitzwilliam Museum
Associated department: Antiquities

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The Fitzwilliam Museum (2024) "Painted wooden coffin" Web page available at: Accessed: 2024-02-21 06:11:18

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