Feature object: Fragment of painted cartonnage Second IntermediatePeriod (Dynasty XVI)

Kim Nielsen, Smithsonian Institution National Museum of Natural History & Smithsonian Institution Archives

Feature object: Fragment of painted cartonnage Second Intermediate Period (Dynasty XVI)
If you have followed me for a while, you will know I'm not one for bloated emotive hyperbole or spin, but sometimes I just stumble across incredible things that I really think should be celebrated and shared.
I often browse Google's Art Project to check out the latest objects that have been digitised from collections round the world. Recently I found this stunning little gem - which I think, if you examine it closely you will agree - is an incredible example of ancient artistic talent.
This small fragment of a cartonnage (plaster) anthropoid (human shaped) coffin from Dynasty XVI looked at first glance to be fairly standard, then I zoomed in. Look in particular at the bird hieroglyphs: every feather dutifully painted, every detail in place, then examine the other signs and connect with those little faces looking out at you from around 1650BCE.
This small piece of coffin is just incredibly beautiful.
I've zoomed in a bit for the preview screenshot below but if you want to look at this object and explore it for yourself click here:


  1. Amazing! The skills of these artists is amazing, and for it to have survived 3,000 years in very good, if not excellent condition is incredible!

  2. I'm watching a program on Egypt tonight on Choice tv


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