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HOME : Biblical Antiquities : Archive : Egypto-Philistine Anthropomorphic Sarcophagus Lid
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Egypto-Philistine Anthropomorphic Sarcophagus Lid - PF.1460
Origin: Jericho, Israel
Circa: 1500 BC to 1250 BC
Dimensions: 24" (61.0cm) high
Catalogue: V8
Collection: Biblical
Medium: Terracotta

Additional Information: sold

Location: United States
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This opulently painted anthropoid, terracotta sarcophagus depicts the deceased in ancient Egyptian fashion. In keeping with those traditions, the face of the individual is painted red, indicating that the deceased was male; the skin tones of women were habitually yellow. His almond-shaped, hieroglyphic eyes are painted black and white, his ears are intentionally disproportionately large, and his cleft-chin is prominent and protruding. He is depicted wearing a vertically striated wig held in place by a floral diadem with a lotus blossom serving as its principal pendant just above his forehead. The four, horizontal ladder-like designs in black and white framed in red beneath his chin may be an attempt at rendering the traditional false beard worn by Egyptian pharaohs. The rectangular pattern of horizontal lines beneath this false beard is to be interpreted as a pectoral, or broad collar lying on the upper chest. This is flanked to the left and right by two reddish, rectangular forms which depict the deceased’s clenched fists, as the suggested fingers on the hand to the viewer’s right reveal. During the course of the Late Bronze Age, Egyptian influence in the Canaan was vigorous. As result, many local traditions, including burial customs, exhibited a strong Egyptianizing tendency, as is evident in this object which is a local interpretation of a prevailing, pharaonic Egyptian funereal expression. Such cultural exchange was facilitated by a major highway which passed through Gaza and linked Egypt with Canaan. In time settlements and their accompanying cemeteries rose in this area and the deceased, suggested by Israeli archaeologists, included Canaanites, who were interred in such sarcophagi. There is an extensive collection of similar sarcophagi, excavated in Gaza at the site of Deir el-Balah, in the collections of the Israel Museum, Jerusalem. These are dated to the 14 and 13th century BCE. Reference: Wilfried Seipel, Land der Bibel. Schätze aus dem Israel Museum Jerusalem (Vienna 1997), pages 63-64, catalogue numbers 85-89. - (PF.1460)


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