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Sarcophagus of Pa-ba-sa, Egyptian, about 664–610 BC

Sarcophagus of Pa-ba-sa, Egyptian, about 664–610 BC

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This Sarcophaegus of Pa-ba-sa dates from c.656 -640 BC.

Pa-ba-sa was an important Egyptian noble and Chief Steward to Nitocris I, Divine Adoratrice of Amun and daughter of Psamtik I, King of Egypt (664–610 BC) during the 26th Saite Dynasty. His massive anthropoid sarcophagus was found in tomb TT 279, in the Asasif in Western Thebes, by Giovanni d'Athanasi (1798–1854). It bears 22 hieroglyphic inscriptions including the names of Pa-ba-sa’s father, Padibast and mother, Tasenetenho. For 400 years, during 21st–25th Dynasties, new coffins were made only of wood. This sarcophagus is the earliest extant example of a small group of fine stone sarcophagi that began to be made again in 26th Dynasty for powerful members of the Egyptian elite.

The sarcophagus was sold to Alexander, 10th Duke of Hamilton (1767–1852) and installed in the Egyptian Hall of Hamilton Palace in 1834 where it remained until the building was demolished in 1919. It was then presented, in 1922, to Glasgow Museums by the Trustees of the Hamilton Estates and has been on public display in Kelvingrove Art Gallery and Museum ever since.

This sarcophagus is internationally significant as a high quality survival of rare funerary art from the Egyptian Late Period (c.747–332 BC). It is supported by a compete set of photographs of Pa-ba-sa’s tomb taken by Harry Burton in 1920–1921 as well as an analysis of the object’s decoration and inscriptions by J. K. Thomson carried out in 1992.

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