Tutankhamun’s canopic coffin

A detailed look at one of four coffinettes which held the king's mummified organs.

Image: Robert B. Partridge

As we celebrate 100 years since the discovery of Tutankhamun’s tomb, we feature one of the most beautiful treasures from KV62 on the cover: a golden canopic coffin (left).

This is one of four coffinettes which held the king’s mummified organs, and is a miniature replica of the king’s second coffin. Made of beaten gold, and inlaid with carnelian and glass paste, the delicate cloisonné forms the feathered ‘rishi’ pattern along the body, with the outstretched wings of Wadjet and Nekhbet folded protectively around the king’s shoulders.

On his head, he wears the striped royal headdress with vulture and cobra heads at his brow. His hands are crossed over the chest, holding the crook and flail, symbols of Osiris.

The four canopic coffins were discovered inside an alabaster box in the ‘Treasury’ room. But inscriptions inside each show signs of alteration, suggesting that, like so many of the treasures found in KV62, these beautiful pieces were originally made for someone else and repurposed for Tutankhamun.