Israel Museum

Naturalistic coffin lids from Deir el-Balah. The lids vary from 16 to 35 inches in height and 20 to 24 inches in width and share distinctly Egyptian characteristics—including the lotus leaf on the head, the wig, the extended eyes, the clenched hands and the beard. Egyptians often wore wigs and outlined their eyes with kohl. The lotus leaf was an Egyptian symbol of rebirth. The beard and fists mimic depictions of Osiris, the Egyptian god of the dead. Similarities in the materials, manufacture and appearance of these lids, which turned up on the antiquities market and were catalogued by Dothan, and those excavated at Deir el-Balah indicate that they all came from the same site and probably from the same workshop. Some, like these, may even have been made by the same artisan.