About this object

This wooden chest is in the form of a shrine and was made to contain the viscera removed during mummification. The wrapped internal organs have now turned to a brown lumpy powder with fragments of bandages. There was originally a painted wooden figure of a hawk pegged on the lid but this is now missing and may still be with the collections of John Garstang at the University of Liverpool. The chest is painted in black, blue, red and green on a white ground. On the lid are two figures of Anubis, god of the dead, as a black jackal. At the front beneath a winged disk, the gods Thoth and Re-Harakhte are represented drawing the bolts of the shrine door. The frieze of the alternating symbols of Isis and Osiris with the architectural façade below is repeated on the sides and back of the chest. The four Sons of Horus are shown on the sides of the chest, Duamutef and Qebehsenuf on the right and Imsety and Hapy on the left. They were the protectors of the viscera which were removed from the corpse, wrapped and placed in the chest. The jackal-headed Duamutef guarded the stomach; the falcon-headed Qebehsenuf guarded the intestines; the baboon-headed Hapy guarded the lungs; and the human-headed Imsety guarded the liver. On the back of the chest is painted the djed pillar, the symbol of Osiris, god of the dead, with a human head, and arms grasping the royal symbols of the crook and flail.

The mummy and coffin of Nesshutefnut (also known as Ruru) prophet of Khonsu, prophet of Horus, son of Iyhor and Teni, were found at Hissayeh in Upper Egypt during excavations undertaken there by Professor John Garstang and Harold Jones in February/March 1905. In the same tomb were a painted wooden stele, a canopic chest and a Ptah-Soker-Osiris figure. An unpublished photograph shows the relative position of the contents of the rock-cut tomb when it was opened. The coffin was lying against the side wall with the Ptah-Soker-Osiris figure close to the right of the head. Between the Ptah-Soker-Osiris figure and the canopic chest was the stela.

Object specifics

  • Type
  • Culture
  • Artist/Maker
  • Place made
    Africa: Northern Africa: Egypt: Hissayeh
  • Date made
    332 BC about
  • Materials
    Paint; Wood; Gesso
  • Location
    World Museum, Level 3, Ancient Egypt Gallery
  • Acquisition
    Presented by the General Committee of the Institute of Archaeology, Liverpool
  • Collector
    Liverpool University Institute of Archaeology
  • Place collected
    Africa: Northern Africa: Egypt: Hissayeh
  • Date collected
  • Measurements
    508 mm x 245 mm x 290 mm
  • Note
    Found at Hissayeh in Upper Egypt during excavations undertaken there by Harold Jones for Professor John Garstang early in 1905.
  • Related people
    Liverpool University Institute of Archaeology ( Collector, previous owner)

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  • Liverpool Excavations at Hissayeh, 1905

    Start date: 1905-02
    End date: 1905-02
    Description: Excavations directed by John Garstang of the University of Liverpool Institute of Archaeology on behalf of the Egyptian Excavations Committee and the Institute of Archaeology in 1905. Hissayeh is a cemetery about 15 km south of Edfu in Upper Egypt. In a fieldwork report to members of the excavation committee, dated 5th March 1905, Prof. John Garstang records that towards the end of February his assistant, Mr Harold Jones, took a tent, 80 men and equipment to Hissayeh. Garstang had already examined the site and had found it to be very much plundered. On page 4 of his report he notes, “It seemed, however, desirable to look over the necropolis carefully to make sure it was exhausted and to ascertain anything possible concerning its history. Few tombs of the Ptolemaic character proved to have escaped plunder and in one of them Mr Jones found attached to a mummy a hieroglyphic papyrus. (I consequently joined him in camp at Hissayeh where we are now). The papyrus is a nice roll in good condition. The text is well written and the illustrations in pen and ink apparently without colour. It seems to be The Book of the Dead but I have not dealt with it yet. Another was found two days ago, unfortunately flat, and difficult to preserve. Some small wooden objects (2 stelae) and one or two good wooden sarcophagi, modelled to human shape and decorated with scenes of ritual and religion have been found. Also some excellent pottery."


Previous owners

Object view = Humanities
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