Coffin Fragment



Left fist from an anthropoid (human-shaped) coffin, holding a blue painted object that may be a short stave or a document case (‘mekes’). The front is naturalistically formed but the back surface is a flat plane. Front is prepared with plaster and painted red. The surface appears varnished. Hands on anthropoid coffins were carved separately and would have been pegged in place on the coffin during the manufacture process. This construction technique is characteristic of coffins made in the late New Kingdom and the Third Intermediate Period and Late Period (about 1100 BC – 715 BC). From the same coffin as left hand 55.82.85. John Garstang's team excavated about 250 tombs at "Beni Hasan South" near the mouth of the gorge of the Speos Artemidos in 1904, but this work is less well recorded than that of the earlier shaft tombs he excavated at Beni Hasan. The back of the hand is marked 525 in pencil which does not correspond with a number in John Garstang's inventory of tombs at Beni Hasan. CONDITION NOTE (1998): Wood is a little dry, surface loss, surface dirt, surface is flaking. Paint sampled by Conservation science in 2007.