Circa: 1080 BC to 720 BC
Dimensions: 16" (40.6cm) high x 8.75" (22.2cm) wide x 1.25" (3.2cm) depth
Collection: Egyptian Antiquities
Style: Third Intermediate Period
These brightly painted and well-preserved wooden panels contain mirror-images of what appears to be the same scene, suggesting that they were symmetrically arranged on the sarcophagus to which these panels originally belonged. The best preserved of the two figures in each pair is a mummiform, jackal-headed deity, who, although not inscribed, can plausibly be identified as Duamutef, one of the Four Sons of Horus. His identification seems assured by his iconography which includes his tightly-fitting white garment with its red ribbons, which represent the mummy bandages in which he and his brothers are traditionally enveloped. These deities stand on neb-signs which represent luxury vessels created from banded alabaster, indicated by their angular ornamentation. The baskets represent the word neb, “lord” or “master” in the hieroglyphs, and were probably incorporated into a rebus, or visual pun, forming one or more epithets associated with these Four Sons of Horus. There are two vertical motifs near the legs of each pair of figures. The element to the far left and right is a stylized representation of romaine lettuce, used in ancient Egyptian art as a signifier of the fecundity inherent in the plant world and a symbol of resurrection. The other element is perhaps best understood as a censor, containing a ball of frankincense or myrrh in its cup-like top, the smoke of which was traditionally used to accompanying the performance of sacred rituals.