These brightly painted and well-preserved
wooden panels contain mirror-images of
appears to be the same scene, suggesting
they were symmetrically arranged on the
sarcophagus to which these panels originally
belonged. The best preserved of the two
in each pair is a mummiform, jackal-headed
deity, who, although not inscribed, can
be identified as Duamutef, one of the Four
of Horus. His identification seems assured
iconography which includes his tightly-fitting
white garment with its red ribbons, which
represent the mummy bandages in which he
his brothers are traditionally enveloped.
deities stand on neb-signs which represent
luxury vessels created from banded
indicated by their angular ornamentation.
baskets represent the word neb, “lord” or
“master” in the hieroglyphs, and were
incorporated into a rebus, or visual pun,
one or more epithets associated with these
Sons of Horus. There are two vertical motifs
the legs of each pair of figures. The element
the far left and right is a stylized
of romaine lettuce, used in ancient Egyptian
as a signifier of the fecundity inherent in the
plant world and a symbol of resurrection.
other element is perhaps best understood as
censor, containing a ball of frankincense or
myrrh in its cup-like top, the smoke of which
was traditionally used to accompanying the
performance of sacred rituals.
For an impression of how these two panels
have appeared on the sides of an anthropoid
sarcophagus of the period, see, A. Niwinski,
Dynasty Coffins from Thebes (Mainz am
1988), page 92, figure 42.
- Dr. Robert Steven Bianchi
Dimensions of left panel: height 16", width
Dimensions of right panel: height 19", width
7.5", approx. depth 1"