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Egyptian Sarcophagus with Corn Mummy


An Egyptian corn mummy and wood sarcophagus Late Period, circa 664-32 B.C. The mummiform falcon-headed lid coated in bitumen and decorated with yellow paint, wearing a broad collar and the tripartite wig, with a standing deity on each lappet, the eyes with added cosmetic lines, a row of standing gods above four columns of text, now unintelligible, the mummy coated in bitumen and wrapped in linen, wearing the White Crown, the gilt wax mask with details added in white and black paint, with remains of the fake beard, the mummy 16½in (42cm) long, the coffin 20in (51cm) long. 

Osiris, supreme god of resurrection, was closely associated with the life-giving forces of nature, particularly the Nile and vegetation. Above all, he was connected with germinating grain. The emergence of a living, growing, plant from the apparently dormant seed hidden within the earth was regarded by the Egyptians as a metaphor for the rebirth of a human being from the lifeless husk of the corpse. The concept was translated into physical form by the fashioning of images of Osiris out of earth and grain. These "corn-mummies" were composed of sand or mud, mixed with grains of barley. As in this instance, the "mummy" is sometimes wrapped in linen bandages and may possess a finely detailed mask of wax, representing the face of Osiris.