Sarcophagus of Seti I, New Kingdom - commemoration and exhibition

Sarcophagus of Seti I, New Kingdom - commemoration and exhibition
When most people think of an ancient Egyptian sarcophagus, the image they have is very unlike that belonging to 19th Dynasty King Seti I. Neither gold nor timber, his anthropoid sarcophagus was carved from a huge piece of white alabaster and was decorated with incised magical texts and protective deities which were inlaid with a turquoise coloured substance which has sadly now decayed and largely fallen away.

Factum Arte have been working since 2014 to record this beautiful object which is the centerpiece of the Egypt Uncovered: Belzoni and the Tomb of Pharaoh Seti I exhibition at the Sir John Soane's Museum London:
"To coincide with the 200th anniversary of the discovery of the tomb of Pharaoh Seti I by the Egyptologist Giovanni Battista Belzoni (1778–1823), Sir John Soane’s Museum will present Egypt Uncovered: Belzoni and the Tomb of Pharaoh Seti I – a new exhibition revealing the story behind the Museum’s most treasured possession."
[11 Oct 2017 to 14 Apr 2018, free admission]
Scanning and recording are now complete, to read more about the process and technology involved, click the image linked below to go to the Factum Arte article.
Original publication (large pdf file):


  1. I am a bit concerned by the complexion of many of these pieces, it seems that through time there true colour has been deliberately changed

  2. Steve E As far as I know the entire corpus of texts recorded on this sarcophagus were rendered in a turquoise coloured substance. Since the colour is associated with the goddess Hathor "Lady of Turquoise" and that she has funerary associations, along with the fact that we see other funerary texts rendered in a similar colour (see the tomb chapel of Nebamun, British Museum), the use of blue is unsurprising. The goddess in the picture above is Nut. This colour choice has nothing to do with 'complexions' or 'deliberate' changes to the artefacts, and everything to do with Egyptian belief and pigment technology. The sarcophagus itself is made of alabaster. Which is usually light brown to light cream in colour. All of the decoration is 'line art' and there is no evidence any of the images were coloured with anything other than blue, which you can see in the colour plates of the pdf file I linked in the post above.

    Museum object: - Sarcophagus of King Seti (or Sety) I


Post a Comment

To maintain the quality of discussion, please keep comments and questions on topic.