Outer coffin of Padiamun

From Thebes, Dynasty 22 (about 750-715 BC)

53.72

Interior of a wooden coffin with figures and patterns painted on it

Length 219cm

When Padiamun died his mummy was placed within a set of 3 coffins: a innermost mummiform coffin made from cartonnage (linen and plaster); a mummiform inner coffin made from cedar wood; and a rectangular outer coffin made from cedar wood. Only the inner coffin and the base of the innermost cartonnage coffin have survived.

The cartonnage coffin was cut in half when the mummy was unwrapped at a party on 16th September 1851, and like the outermost coffin the top half has deteriorated and been lost. The guests hoped to discover amulets or jewellery in the wrappings but none were found.

Such mummy unwrapping events were great social occasions in the 19th century. This one was reported in the local press and the audience were afterwards entertained by the Cirencester Band and given refreshments. Padiamun worked in a temple as the 'sailor of the barque of Amun', the ship that would carry the sacred image of the god Amun in river festivals. On the front of his coffin Pediamun is being introduced to Osiris in the hall of judgement where his heart shall be weighed. He can be seen clutching his heart and kneeling behind the ibis bird-headed god Thoth. On the shoulders of the coffin are unusual images of the hippocampus (seahorse).

The inside of Padiamun's coffin is painted with a large djed pillar, a symbol of Osiris. The djed pillar holds the crook and flail of kingship and has two horns that belong to the creator god Khnumn. Above each horn are Ba birds that hold their hands outstretched to a sun disc. At the top a kneeling figure holds up the solar barque.

Presented by Gloucester Museum (formerly in the collection of the English Egyptologist and traveller James Burton, 1788-1862).