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Coffin mask
Date Made/Found: 1069-664 BC
Material and Medium: Wood and paint
Dimensions: 320 × 265 × 121mm (12 5/8 × 10 7/16 × 4 3/4in.)
Place Object Found: Thebes
Department: Archaeology
Accession Number: J1956.47
This is an ancient Egyptian coffin face mask. Craftspeople carved decorative parts of coffins separately and attached them to the main coffin. These included hands, ears, face masks and footboards.

Ancient Egyptians started using coffins to bury people from around 3200 BC. The coffins of the wealthiest people were made of wood and were sometimes put inside a stone sarcophagus. The decoration of early coffins featured a pair of eyes painted on the outside to enable the deceased to look out into the tomb and keep a link with the living world.

Coffin makers began producing anthropoid (person-shaped) coffins from around 2000 BC. They often applied a lot of decoration with images of gods and the dead person, as well as prayers and spells written in hieroglyphs. Royalty and the wealthiest people could have three coffins one inside the other, while less wealthy people had one or two coffins. But most people had no coffin and were wrapped in a reed mat for burial in a grave in the sand.
Display Location: Weston Park Museum

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