Archaeological Museum of Bologna

Museo Civico Archeologico
Via dell'Archiginnasio 2 - 40124 Bologna

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Via de' Musei 8 – 40124 Bologna
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Collections / Sections / The Egyptian Collection

Funerary equipment, Late Period

A specific section of Egyptian Collection reconstructs the typical accoutrements of the Late Period, with objects that vary in provenance.

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The sarcophagi and the mummy pertain to Usai, son of Nekhet, who lived in Thebes during the 26th dynasty. The walls of the enormous sarcophagus are decorated with mummiform deities alternated with inscriptions. The barrel-shaped lid has two painted images of the boat of the god Ra, drawn by ten ferrymen on his nocturnal journey, and the statuettes of falcons and jackals seem to watch over him. The internal sarcophagus, containing the mummy, reproduces the features of the deceased: the face – brick red to indicate the male gender – contrasts with the lighter colours of the wig and the usekh pectoral with numerous rows of beads; the hole for the false beard, which has been lost, is visible under the chin and identifies the deceased with the god Osiris, the lord of the afterlife. The remainder of the sarcophagus is monochromatic with the exception of the two columns of hieroglyphics painted red, which transmit the name of Usai along with that of his father Nekhet and his mother Heriubastet. Imentit, goddess of the West, was painted on the bottom of the anthropoid casket to welcome the deceased. Usai’s mummy, still wrapped in bandages, is now protected by netting with faïence amulets that the Egyptians thought could preserve the body from any type of deterioration, screening it. The integrity and vital warmth of the deceased were also guaranteed by a disc made of various materials, set under his head and thus called a hypocephalus. The texts and depictions of the Bologna papyrus specimen, which belonged to the priest of the god Thot, Pa-sheri-Khonsu, are from the Book of the Dead, a magical-religious work intended to help the deceased on the difficult journey in the afterlife. The four alabaster Canopic jars, with lids shaped like human heads, contained the viscera removed during the mummification process. The ushabti– and there could be hundreds of them in the tomb – took the place of the deceased in farm work in the afterlife. These basic objects for preserving the body and guaranteeing that the spiritual entities of the deceased (Ba, Ka, Akh) could aspire to eternal life supplemented other objects that were intended to cheer the life of the deceased for eternity: boxes, furniture, beds, headrests, fabrics and garments, sandals, equipment, crockery and much more, some of which used by the deceased in life

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Exhibition rooms | Egyptian collection