Ancient Egypt: The Merrin Gallery's Sarcophagus (Lid)
Sarcophagus (and Mummy) of Neshkons
Material: Painted Sycamore Fig Wood
Origin: Ancient Egypt (Third Intermediate Period, Dynasty XXI)
Dated: c. 900–940 BCE
The principal scenes depicted (excluding the many small amuletic and mythological figures) on the Merrin Gallery's sarcophagus' lid are as follows:
Between the hands of the mummiform Neshkons there is a vignette featuring symmetrical cobra-goddesses. Below the large floral collar, a winged solar-disk above a scarab wearing a triple Atef-crown is flanked by symmetrical scenes. To the left we see the vulture-goddess Nekhbet, standing behind a seated god labeled “Giver of life, stability Re”. A similar goddess appears to the right, behind a seated god labeled “Giver of life, stability and dominion like Re”.
There are symmetrical winged cobra-goddesses below both labeled “Wadjyt”. The sky-goddess Nut appears below, with wings spread wide above a central HH-god holding palm-fronds, signifying “millions of years”. Captioned to the left we see, “Stability and dominion like Re”, and to the right, “Life, stability and dominion like Re(?)”.
The central god is flanked on either side by a standing goddess behind a seated god, labeled, to the left, “Great God,... (?) of Heaven”, “Nekhbet”, and to the right “Great God, Lord of Heaven”, “Nekhbet”.
A solar disk appears below with spread wings above symmetrical htp-di-nsw offering formulae (translating to "gifts given by the king") in vertical bands extending to the foot of the sarcophagus lid.
To the left, it reads: “A Royal Offering Formula to Re-Harakhty-Atum, Lord of the Two Lands, the Southern-Heliopolitan; Ptah-Tatjenen who is South of His Wall, Lord of Ankhtawy; Anubis, Lord of the Cemetery, Foremost in the God’s Booth; that they may give offerings of provisions, everything good and pure, everything sweet and pleasant”.
On the right, it reads: “A Royal Offering Formula to Re-Harakhty-Atum, Lord of the Two Lands, the Southern-Heliopolitan; Ptah-Sokar-Osiris the Lord of Mysteries; Anubis Lord of the Cemetery, Foremost in the God’s Booth, First Lector Priest [in the Place of Truth]..., Great God...”.
The vertical bands have central panels in between: one with symmetrical seated gods, one with symmetrical falcon gods flanking a scarab with a solar disk, and one with wadjet-eyes.
Below, down the center of the foot, there is another offering formula, reading “A Royal Offering Formula to Osiris, Lord of Eternity, Foremost of the West, Great God, Lord of Heaven, who comes forth/ascends from the horizon”.
Acquired by Samuel Merrin and Moshe Bronstein of the Merrin Gallery.