About this object

Granite sarcophagus consisting of a trough and lid belonging to Bakenkhonsu (his name means 'servant of Khonsu'). Bakenkhonsu was High Priest of Amun under Ramesses II during the 19th Dynasty. The sarcophagus is shaped like a mummy, with the arms crossed on the chest and the hands holding divine emblems. Across the chest is the winged figure of the sky goddess Nut. A band of text down the front is a prayer to Nut. On the sides are carvings in relief: Thoth holding a standard bearing a star, and the four sons of Hours. Before 1941 the sarcophagus was on display in the main hall of the museum and was severely damaged by the fire that destroyed the museum. During the rebuilding of Liverpool Museum in 1964, the shattered fragments of the sarcophagus were discovered in the ruined basement. Conservation began in 1988 - there was a first attempt and then a final arrangement following the discovery of further fragments. The sarcophagus was pieced back together with missing parts reconstructed with resin (except beard). The sarcophagus weighs 2172 kg (Charles Gatty who catalogued the collection in the 1870’s noted that it was "said to weigh 4 1/2 tons").

Object specifics

  • Type
  • Culture
    New Kingdom
  • Artist/Maker
    Unknown or unrecorded
  • Place made
    Africa: Northern Africa: Egypt: Thebes: Dra' Abu el Naga
  • Date made
    About 1200 BC
  • Materials
  • Location
    Item not currently on display
  • Acquisition
    Gift of Joseph Mayer
  • Collector
    Joseph Mayer
  • Place collected
    Africa: Northern Africa: Egypt: Thebes: Dra' Abu el Naga
  • Date collected
    19th Century
  • Measurements
    1145 mm x 800 mm x 2240 mm x 2172 kg
  • Note
    Presented to the museum by Joseph Mayer in 1867; purchased from 9th Viscount Valentia's collection, no. 427 in the Sotheby's 1852 sale catalogue. Mayer gave £30 for it according to a priced catalogue
  • Related people
    Annesley, George Arthur, 9th Viscount Valentia (Previous owner); Joseph Mayer (Associated Person, collector, previous owner); Henry Salt (Collector, previous owner)

Where is this object from?

Explore related


  • Catalogue of the Mayer Collection Part 1. The Egyptian, Babylonian and Assyrian Antiquities. Second and Revised Edition.

    Gatty, Charles

    Author: Gatty, Charles
    Publisher: The Committee of the Liverpool Free Public Library, Museum and Gallery of Art
    Date: 1879
    Description: Catalogue of most of Joseph Mayer's Egyptian and Near Eastern collection that was on display. It also includes a small number of other collections, such as those given by Mr William Crosfield in 1861, some by Mr Charles Stoess in 1869, and others by Mr J. A. Tinne in 1870. Occasionally reference will be made to the provenance of objects, in particular if they are from the Jospeh Sams or Lord Valentia (ex Henry Salt) collections. There are illustrations of some objects, in particular the amulets, by Mr Ll. Jewitt, FSA. Compared to Mayer's 1852 cataloue there are more detailed descriptions for inscribed objects such as stelae, giving names and titles and the character of the text, provided by Samuel Birch of the British Museum who visited the collections in March 1877.

  • Egypt Under The Pharaohs: A History Derived Entirely From The Monuments

    Bey, Heinrich Brugsch

    Author: Bey, Heinrich Brugsch
    Publisher: J. Murray
    Date: 1891

  • Egyptian Treasures in Europe volume 4: National Museums & Galleries on Merseyside, Liverpool

    Andrea Davies and Dirk van der Plas (ed.)

    Author: Andrea Davies and Dirk van der Plas (ed.)
    Publisher: Utrecht University
    Date: 2001
    Description: CD ROM with 1500 objects from World Museum's Egyptian collection, including some destroyed in World War Two. This is now available online: http://www.globalegyptianmuseum.org/default.aspx

  • Gifts of The Nile: Ancient Egyptian Arts and Crafts in Liverpool Museum

    Bienkowski, Piotr; Tooley, Angela

    Author: Bienkowski, Piotr; Tooley, Angela
    Publisher: Her Majesty's Stationery Office
    Date: 1995
    Description: A 130 page illustrated book that focuses on the Egyptian antiquities in World Museum's collections to provide a colourful introduction to the land and its culture in the Pharaonic period. An appendix explains the history of the collection and includes information about the Lady Lever Art Gallery Egyptian collection, which is also part of National Museums Liverpool.

  • Sarkofager, Mumiekister og Mumiehylstre i det gamle Aegypten. Typologisk Atlas med Indledning

    Schmidt, Valdemar

    Author: Schmidt, Valdemar
    Publisher: J. Frimodt
    Date: 1919

  • 'The Career of the Egyptian High Priest Bakenkhons', in Journal of Near Eastern Studies, 52

    Jansen-Winkeln, K

    Author: Jansen-Winkeln, K
    Date: 1993

  • 'The Museums of England with special reference to objects of art and antiquity' in The Art-Journal volume 9

    Jewitt, Llewellynn

    Author: Jewitt, Llewellynn
    Publisher: The Art-Journal
    Date: 1870
    Description: A series of illustrated articles by the antiquarian and iilustrator Llewellynn Jewitt FSA.

  • Topographical Bibliography of Ancient Egyptian Hieroglyphic Texts, Statues, Reliefs and Paintings Volume I Part 1: The Theban Necropolis. Private Tombs. (2nd ed.)

    B. Porter and R. L. B. Moss, assisted by E. W. Burney, now edited by J. Malek

    Author: B. Porter and R. L. B. Moss, assisted by E. W. Burney, now edited by J. Malek
    Publisher: Griffith Institute
    Date: 1994
    Description: Volume I Part 1. The Theban Necropolis. Private Tombs. (2nd ed.) 2004, unchanged reprint of the 1960 edition in soft cover and reduced format. ISBN 0900416 815. Details can be found at the Griffith Institute website: http://www.griffith.ox.ac.uk/gri/3staintr.html


Previous owners

  • Joseph Mayer

    Owned from: 1852
    How acquired: Unknown or unrecorded
    Owned until: 1867
    Disposal method: Unknown or unrecorded
  • Annesley, George Arthur, 9th Viscount Valentia

    Owned from: 1835
    How acquired: Unknown or unrecorded
    Owned until: 1852
    Disposal method: Unknown or unrecorded
  • Henry Salt

    Owned from: 1817
    How acquired: Unknown or unrecorded
    Owned until: 1835
    Disposal method: Unknown or unrecorded
Object view = Humanities
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