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Neshkons' Mummy (Part of the Merrin Sarcophagus) | by Samuel Merrin
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Neshkons' Mummy (Part of the Merrin Sarcophagus)

Mummy (and Sarcophagus) of Neshkons

Origin: Ancient Egypt (Third Intermediate Period, Dynasty XXI)

Dated: c. 900–940 BCE


The provenance of Neshkon's mummy begins with a story:


In the winter of 1900, Liberty E. Holden of Cleveland, Ohio, publisher of The Plains Dealer, voyaged to Egypt to experience the wonders of the ancient world. While on the obligatory trip up the Nile, he learned that the dealer Sheik Mahmud Hassan had discovered a cache of four mummies. Holden records that he observed the excavations, but it is not known whether this was a staged event for the benefit of the tourists or an actual discovery. In either case he made his purchase, and sent the still-sealed coffin to Cairo for export clearance by the Egyptian Museum officials. At the time the mummy was named Othphto, a fantasy name likely coined by the Luxor dealer.


From Cairo it was shipped to Cleveland, where it was donated to the Western Reserve Historical Society. As was the fashion since the early 19th century, the coffin was ceremoniously opened and the mummy partially unwrapped in the Society’s auditorium. A partial reading of the inscriptions lead to the mummy’s identification as Djed-Khons-Iwef-Ankh, but it is now clear that Neshkons (male) was the original owner of the sarcophagus.


The body was carefully preserved in natron and bitumen, and expertly wrapped in quality linen. The head and part of the chest that was unwrapped exposes two wax winged falcon amulets and a faience heart scarab originally placed over the chest. The underside of the scarab reads, “The Osiris, the Lady of the House, Chantress of Amen-Re King, Priestess (God’s Servant) of Isis, Akhbitet; She says: [my] heart [of my] mother, [my] heart [of my] mother, [my] forms, do not”.


Mummy acquired and sold together with the sarcophagus by Samuel Merrin and Moshe Bronstein of the Merrin Gallery.

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Taken on March 22, 2011