For the first assignment in Instructor Laude’s Art 100 class, the class had to visit the Brooklyn Museum’s Egypt Exhibit on the 3rd floor. Where we chose a work of art each student thought was interesting and writes a paper describing and analyzing the art work. The work of art that I chose is the Anthropoid Coffin of the Priest Thothirdes. The reason I found this artifact interesting because I wonder why the museum felt they had to put a dead body to lay in the middle of the hallway.
The Coffin and Mummy of Thothirdes were stated to be created in the Late Period, Dynasty 26 around 664-525 B. C. E.
The Mummy is wrapped in Linen and organic materials and the Coffin is wood covered in plaster. A DETAIL DESCRIPTION OF MY OBSERVTION: The Mummy of Priest Thothirdes is laid vertically fully wrapped in cloth with approximate measurements of 16 x 10 1/4 x 61 in. Actually it is a re-cloth of the Thothirdes the bandages were preserved and reused after scientific research. The Coffin of Thothirdes surface of the coffin box is covered with a plain, open weave fabric of linen, visible in some areas below the linen layer is a reddish-brown, clay-like material.
The face figure on the coffin has no beard but it’s a male subject. The exterior of the coffin box is decorated with vertical hieroglyph inscriptions. There are illustrations that seem to tell of story of Thothirdes as a mummy. The interior design of the coffin depicts a woman figure with hieroglyphs below. The coffin bottom is made from several pieces of wood that have been joined together with wooden pins. The Coffin box approximate size is, 8 11/16 x 2 7/8 x 27 3/16 in. with the Coffin Lid approximately, 9 7/16 x 7 7/8 x 27 9/16 in.
The coffin shows the Egyptian’s religious faith in the afterlife. The illustrations on the outside of the coffin shows messages to protect the mummy and grant permission into the afterlife. The ancient Egyptians believed that to attain the afterlife, one's body must be intact, hence the highly ritualized mummification of the dead. Seems that there worst fear was that the corpse might be destroyed which would destroy its chance at eternal life.
I believe the Egyptians also put people in coffins to keep them protected from the weather and animals that would destroy the delicate work of mummification. Recognizing the dead person looks like an important point in mummification because of the many illustrations covering the coffin the dead will be able to remember who they were in the afterlife.
I thought the Mummy Chamber exhibit was really amazing. I think that any display that humanizes and personalized ancient and unfamiliar cultures is a great thing.
This exhibit was not only educational, but it focused on the general beliefs of the contrast of spiritually in life and in death in a resourceful and a considerate display. Visually you can see how some of the customs and traditions used thousands of years ago, still are significant to modern times. At first I felt that they should return the mummy’s back to their original location and that it is extremely disrespectful to remove them from their burial sites. But as I compare to today society we only preserve what we want to share in the future. The Egyptians were highly intelligent people.