Coffin of a bird

This image may be used under a Creative Commons Attribution-NonCommercial-ShareAlike 4.0 International (CC BY-NC-SA 4.0) license. For uses not covered under the Creative Commons license, or to license images for commercial uses, please contact the Egypt Centre.


A hollow wooden bird-shaped coffin wearing a double crown. Traces of gilt remain, and there is some modern blue paint on one side. A mummified bird of prey remains in the interior. Such birds were specially bred and killed to be given as votive offerings to the gods. Some coffins do not contain birds, but this one has been X-rayed and a bird was discovered. The coffin is carved from a single piece of wood. The exterior would have been covered with gesso and painted.


For a similar example see: R. Bailleul-Le Suer (ed.) 2012, 'Between heaven and Earth: Birds in ancient Egypt', Chicago, pp. 186-188. See Ken Griffith's article in 'Inscriptions' January 2009 for a description of the X-ray results.

Wellcome Number
J. C. Stevens. Auction and Sale Rooms: 09–10 Sep 1930, Lot 818
Auction Details
Two old Egyptian 18th Dynasty hawks.
Previous Owner
Sir Henry Solomon Wellcome (1853–1936)
Long-term loan, The Wellcome Trust (15 Feb 1971)
Last modified: 29 Nov 2021

Back | Feedback about this object