The Khnumnakht Coffin is a piece of ancient Egyptian art, believed to have been created between 1850 BC and 1750 BC. It was discovered during archaeological excavations conducted between 1910 and 1915 by archaeologist and collector Sayyid Khashaba in the town of Mair (also known as Meir), located in the Assiut Governorate on the west bank of the Nile River in Egypt.
In 1915, the Coffin of Khnumnakht was purchased by the Metropolitan Museum of Art in New York, where it has been part of the museum’s collection since.
The coffin is made of polychrome wood and measures 68 cm in height, 51.8 cm in width, and 207.5 cm in length. It is a rectangular wooden coffin consisting of a lid and a box, fully decorated with hieroglyphic writing and figures.
On the lower outer part of the box, there are eight small rectangular supports to lift the coffin off the ground. On the left side of the box, there is an architectural façade with a small door in the center that serves as the false door for the spirit of the deceased to move between the land of the dead and the land of the living.
The door is painted to look like two wooden door leaves secured with bolts, and above the door, there are two eyes that gaze towards the land of the living.
One panel features the figure of a goddess with arms outstretched and dressed in a tight-fitting white tunic. The rest of the sides are inscribed with invocations and recitations from various primordial ages, including those related to death and rebirth. The gods Osiris, the main god of the dead, and Anubis, the god of embalming, are also represented.
It is worth noting that the hieroglyphic writing and figures were hand-drawn and painted in the manner prescribed for the time and place where the coffin was created.
The brightly painted exterior of the Coffin of Khnumnakht showcases the variety of texts and decorative panels that were characteristic of coffin decoration during the Late Middle Kingdom of Ancient Egypt.
The Coffin of Khnumnakht is currently on display at the Metropolitan Museum of Art in New York.