Mummy Coffin of Pedusiri

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Mummy Coffin of Pedusiri, Late Dynastic (712–323 BC) or Early Greco-Roman (323 BC–AD 395) Period, 500/250 BC
Plastered, polychromed, and gilded wood
84 × 30 3/4 × 13 3/4 in. (213.36 × 78.11 × 34.93 cm)
Purchase M1967.20
Photo credit: Michael Tropea
Currently on View

Aside from the pyramids, mummies and their coffins are the objects most associated with ancient Egypt. This anthropoid-shaped wood coffin is an excellent example of the artistic and religious practices in the late Dynastic and early Greco-Roman periods. Its beautifully painted ornaments and hieroglyphs invoke the gods to protect the deceased-a man named Pedusiri, whose mummy has not survived. His prepared body was probably enclosed in a cartonnage-a casing of plastered, painted, and varnished linen-before being placed in the coffin. The exterior decorations consist of an idealized gold face mask, a blue-painted head cloth, and an exquisite funerary collar with hawk-headed terminals that hold the strands of beads in place. The registers across the body depict the sky goddess Nut, with magnificent outspread wings, and a rare scene detailing the mummification process, attended by a ritual priest dressed as Anubis, the jackal-headed god of the afterlife. Below the embalming bed are canopic jars, which were used to house the viscera of the now deceased body; their lids are decorated with protective deities in the shape of a human, a falcon, a jackal, and a baboon.

Publication History
Kelly, Chelsea Emelie. People's Choice: Your Top 25 Works of Art in the Collection. Milwaukee Art Museum: Under the Wings, April 5, 2013.

Andera, Margaret, Nonie Gadsden, Britt Salvesen, and Laurie Winters. Collection Guide: Milwaukee Art Museum. Milwaukee, Wisconsin: Milwaukee Art Museum, 2004, pp. 8 and 67, cat. 1, color illus. p. 8.

Milwaukee Art Museum. Building a Masterpiece: Milwaukee Art Museum. New York: Hudson Hill Press, 2001, p. 47, color illus p. 18.

Goldstein, Rosalie, ed. Guide to the Permanent Collection. Milwaukee, Wisconsin: Milwaukee Art Museum, 1986, p. 18, b/w illus. p. 18.

Parke-Bernet, January 20, 1967 [auction catalogue]. New York: Parke-Bernet, 1967, cat. 108, b/w illus.

This information is subject to change as the result of ongoing research.