Coffin Lid


Ceramic coffin lid typical of the Ptolemaic and Roman Period. The face, wig and breasts of which are moulded. On the right shoulder is a drawing of a standing deity, perhaps a goddess. At the centre is the deceased lying on a bier beneath a human-headed bird in flight. The Egyptian’s called this the Ba and it represented the personality and power of the deceased who has been regenerated. From the 1905-06 excavations of the Liverpool Institute of Archaeology at Esna. The director of the excavations, John Garstang, dated the coffin to 100 BC - AD 100 and there is no record of any other finds found with the lid. When donated to the Museum in November 1906 the lid was in ten pieces and was mended together, on a wooden board, for display in the Main Hall. Relatively few large objects were evacuated out of the Museum at the outbreak of the Second World War Two in 1939. This coffin lid is an example of some of the objects retrieved in the days that followed the firebombing of the Museum on 3 May 1941 when a 225 kg incendiary bomb fell on the adjoining Liverpool Public Library and both buildings were burnt out. Unfortunately the coffin was damaged: new cracks in several places, the nose and feet broke off, and the surface was darkened by smoke. In 2008 the coffin lid was restored for display after over 60 years in storage. Compare with Cotelle-Michel, Les sarcophages en terre cuite (2004), p. 280 [a Ptolemaic painted coffin from Aswan, tomb 888; see Firth, 1912, pl. 31a,c].