Archaeological Museum of Bologna

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Collections / Itineraries / Egyptian Collection: Middle Kingdom

Coffin-shaped sarcophagus dedicated to Irinimenpu

The major decoration that adorns this sarcophagus, intended for grave goods of an Egyptian man named Irinimenpu, consists of a sequence of palace-façade panels, a pictorial motif taken on from the funeral architecture of the Old Kingdom, that makes the coffin to look like an eternal abode for the lost mummy of Irinimenpu.

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Several offerings, for the most part food, such as candles, ointment jars, a mirror, loaves of bread, vegetables, fruit, cuts of beef, plucked fowl, jars for liquids, etc., are depicted in the middle of one of the longer sides of the sarcophagus, in order that the deceased could continue nourishing on them by magic in the afterlife. A close door is represented on the same side at one of the ends. Two eyes are depicted over the door to indicate that the body is inside; they simultaneously represent an enchanted defence for the deceased’s body. The excellent state of preservation of the coffin is due to the warm dry climate of Egypt, as well as to its original collocation in the protected environment of the burial.

Provenance: Unknown origin, Palagi Collection
Datation: 12th – 13th dynasty (1938–1640 B.C.)
Material: Painted wood
Dimensions: cm 191 x 47 x 250
Inventory #: EG 1958

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