Skip to main content

Look, think, do: The coffin set of Pakepu

Description of this object or artwork

According to Helen Strudwick Associate Curator (Ancient Egypt), this wooden coffin set which belonged to a man called Pakepu, was made to fit one inside the other. They were presented as a gift to the Fitzwilliam Museum in 1869 by the future King Edward VII. They were said to come from Thebes, the ancient site at Luxor, which is about 450 miles south of Cairo.

Pakepu is described on his coffins as a “water pourer on the West of Thebes”. This means he was a person who could be employed by families to maintain the funerary cults of their dead relatives. He would have been expected to visit their tombs on the west bank of the Nile and perform rituals there, including pouring water for the dead. On the basis of the style of the coffin and its decoration, we believe Pakepu’s coffins were made about 680–665 BC. This would mean that he lived during a period when Egypt was ruled by Nubians from northern Sudan.

You can find out more about Pakepu’s coffin set on the Ancient Egyptian Coffins Project website

Unknown Maker
About 680- 665 BC
Outer Coffin ( 2.10m long) Inner Coffin (1.8m long)


  • This coffin set has been decorated with ancient Egyptian gods, goddesses and hieroglyphic symbols.
  • Can you spot the figure of the jackal-headed god Anubis? 


  • Look carefully at how the coffins have been painted and zoom in on some of the details.
  • Can you see anywhere that the artist has not been careful? 
  • The blue in particular is very uneven.
  • Why do you think the blue paint might be different to the other colours? 


Collections record

Collection record: 49054

3d model

Sign up to our emails

Be the first to hear about our news, exhibitions, events and more…

Sign up