Polychrome coffin

Egypt; 650-500 BC (26th dynasty); polychromy; cedar wood coated with plaster and inscribed with figures and hieroglyphs

Cedar wood coated with plaster and inscribed with figures and hieroglyphs; the goddess Nut on the front of the coffin; some joins filled with linen; wooden pegs used for joining; yellow/orange surface of the face was supposed to imitate gilded faces

Condition: deep cracks running along most of the joints resulting in losses of polychromy and fragile areas; proper right side flexing; surface dusty & dirty; a thick solidified dirt layer covering all horizontal areas of the coffin's lid; highly discoloured varnish covering most of the outside surface; some wooden sections detached or flexing; loose fragments of painted plaster and areas of staining; dirty cob webs hanging from the inside of the coffin lid; brownish solid residues found at the foot part of the coffin; loose fragments of painted plaster (inside); salt crystals present in some areas

Pigment identification: Egyptian blue pigment, Orpiment, Iron Oxide, carbon based black pigment, Green Earth, calcium carbonate

Treatment: 1) Loose dirt removed with a soft brush and a low power vacuum cleaner; 2) More stubborn dirt removed with a smoke sponge; 3) The solidified dirt from fragile horizontal parts of the coffin lid removed with a Laser system (140/5); tests and analysis undertaken before the use of laser; 4) Fragile paint or plaster consolidated; these areas were pre-wetted with White Spirit, then Lascaux Medium for Consolidation was injected with a micro fine syringe; 5) Some open cracks that needed stronger reinforcement were injected with Lascaux 498; 6) Broken off fragments reattached with Lascaux 498; 7) Fills were done in areas that needed structural reinforcement; mixture of Lascaux 498 + 360 (50:50), long grain acid free paper and calcium carbonate; fills are reversible with Acetone and Toluene; 8) In-painting of fillings done with MS2A and pigments (MS2A is soluable in White Spirit thus, does not effect the fills)


Birmingham Museum & Art Gallery

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Polychrome coffin Partial Treatment
Polychrome coffin