This long panel inscribed for the priest Hor-udja once belonged to a type of shrine-shaped (qrsw) coffin with four posts and a vaulted top that was used for wooden coffins from the 25th to 26th Dynasty. As J. Taylor comments, “The shape, which recalls that of a shrine, makes allusion to the divine status of the deceased, but the qrsw is also a cosmogram, its vaulted lid representing the sky, and the case the earthly realm of Osiris” (see p. 112 in “Theban Coffins from the Twenty-Second to Twenty-Sixth Dynasty: Dating and Synthesis of Development,” in J. Taylor and N. Strudwick, The Theban Necropolis: Past, Present and Future).
The incised exterior decoration features deities reciting protective phrases in honor of Hor-udja, who is named in the inscription as the son of a priest named Iah-tef-nakht. Together with the matching side panel, the decoration of the coffin provided Hor-udja with protection from the four sons of Horus, as well as the deities Anubis and Geb. This coffin element almost certainly derives from Abusir el-Meleq (ancient Naref), a site in the region of ancient Heracleopolis Magna that was regarded as the “Northern Abydos,” a counterpart in the Fayum region to the main southern center for the cult of the god Osiris. Hor-udja and his father both bore the title of sameref priest (meaning “a son who loves”), a priestly role that is particularly connected to ancient Naref. The first exhaustive study of inscriptions relating to Naref was published in 2017 by L. Díaz-Iglesias Llanos, op. cit., including this panel.
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