Egyptian Wood painted fragment, Middle Kingdom, 11th-12th dynasty (2030-1650 BC)
Dimensions: 17.5 x 18 cm; 27 cm high on stand
Provenance: Piguet Hôtel des Ventes, Geneva, anonymous sale, 29 September 2010, lot 791; private collection, Switzerland, believed to have been formed in the 1960s and 70s; SW. Fine art auction, UK, Essex, March 2023
A painted wood fragment from a sarcophagus or chest, the turquoise hieroglyphics enclosed within parallel white and turquoise borders, to a yellow ground, inscribed to the reverse. Known as ‘coffin texts’, the vertical bands of hieroglyphics are typical of Middle Kingdom sarcophagi. These texts form a collection of spells intended to ensure that the deceased would reach the afterlife. Although used across a wide section of society, they are most prevalent in sarcophagi discovered in higher-status burial areas such as Deir el-Bersha and Beni Hasan.