Figure of Anubis

Accession Number
Current Location
House of Death (ground floor), Mummification case
Object Type
Tomb equipment, Coffin/sarcophagus/cartonnage, Coffin fitting
Egypt, Akhmim
Height: 124mm | Width: 57mm | Depth: 297mm
Number of Elements
Divine Name

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Black painted wooden figure of the Anubis-jackal, which is made from several pieces of wood glued together. The head is made separately. Around the neck is a red band, probably not a decorative collar, but rather, reminiscent of the strip of cloth or leather—known as a 'stola'—shown round the neck of Anubis in tomb paintings of the New Kingdom. The ears and the tail are now missing. Red lettering on the underside ("Axmim") indicate that the object comes from Akhmim. Purchased by Wellcome at auction in 1906 from the collection of Robert de Rustafjaell. This type of wooden figure almost certainly comes from a coffin. Around 750 BC, there was a return in burial customs to using an exterior coffin shaped like a box inside which were placed the anthropoid coffins or mummy-cases which contained the body itself. These new outer coffins have a vaulted roof, representing the sky, and are known by Egyptologists as 'qersu' coffins; the word 'qersu' ("burial" and associated words) is usually written with a hieroglyph of a coffin with a rounded top. Wooden jackals and falcons were placed on top of these coffins as additional protection for the mummy within. Smaller wooden jackals are also found on canopic chests when production of these resumes in the Late Period, but this example is too large to come from anything but a coffin.

Other Identity
954 (rectangular serrated label over circular label with blue frame)
Sotheby, Wilkinson, & Hodge: 19–21 Dec 1906
Previous Owners
Robert de Rustafjaell (1859–1943) | Sir Henry Solomon Wellcome (1853–1936)
Long-term loan, The Wellcome Trust (15 Feb 1971)
Last modified: 11 Dec 2020

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