Egyptian terracotta fragment coffin lid, New Kingdom, 1400 B.C.

This coffin lid represents a male face. The first anthropomorphic coffins in human form were made during the Middle Empire, being very characteristic during the New Empire. These first coffins tried to imitate the mummy's cardboard that represented the face of the deceased. They are sarcophagi made in such a way that the top of the sarcophagus allowed the lid to be placed with the face of the deceased. Depending on the technique used in the representation of these sarcophagi, they could have more detailed faces, including the representation of shoulders, or they could be less defined, that is to say, making a less detailed representation of the face and even exaggerating certain features to the point of a caricature. While it is true that neither type constitutes a portrait of the deceased but an idealization of his most characteristic features. The second case would be the type of cover that we are analyzing because there is a tendency to exaggerate features such as eyes and nose, creating a face with a certain "grotesque". The New Empire began with the reunification of Lower Egypt. It was a period of unprecedented expansion, although marked by the religious crisis of el-Amarna (1364-1347 B.C.). With the 18th dynasty, Egypt achieved hegemony in the sphere of the Ancient Near East. The military successes were supported by the institutional changes demanded by the new reality. Control of the country's resources guaranteed true Egyptian stability. The importance acquired by Thebes during the New Empire, as the capital of Egypt and of its vast Asian and African domains, made the shrine of Amun the main religious and cultural centre of the country.


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