Saturday, February 2, 2013

Rishi Coffins in the British Museum

Fig. 1 - Seventeenth Dynasty Rishi Coffin
Figure 2 - Dynasty 17 / Dynasty 18 rishi coffin
There are a number of Second Intermediate Period rishi Coffins in the British Museum, including that of Nekheperre Intef, a Pharaoh of the Seventeenth Dynasty.

Figure 1 is a wood coffin covered with gesso and then painted. It is fairly typical of the period, with painted wings extending from the chest down to the feet on either side of a central inscription. The deceased is shown wearing a broad collar on the their chest and the nemes headdress is feathered at the top and decorated with stripes on the lappets. The arms of the deceased are not shown crossed on the chest.

Figure 3 - the coffin of Nebkheperre Intef, Dynasty 17
Figure 2 shows the coffin of another private person. It is possibly from the early Eighteenth Dynasty as the artwork is better and the style seems to fit with a slightly later date than the coffin in figure 1.  The headdress is not a names and the feather-work on the lid is limited to the wings that extend down from the chest area. The usual inscription appears between the wings and a broad collar and vulture necklace adorn the lid's chest area.

The third coffin is that of the Seventeenth Dynasty Pharaoh Nebkheperre Intef. The coffin is made of wood covered with a thin layer of gold. The nemes headdress is the standard one worn by the king since the Old Kingdom and includes a uraeus on its brow.


Nebkheperre’s burial was found at Dra abu Naga in 1827 by local tomb robbers. Inside this coffin were two bows and six arrowsa diadem and a mummy from a later period that was almost certainly placed there by the tomb robbers in an attempt to increase the value of their discovery.

In the next post I will take a look at the Eighteenth Dynasty burial of  Queen Meryt-Amun which also contained some rishi coffins.














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