Gilded coffin lid for the priest Nedjemankh, 1st century.

©THE METROPOLITAN MUSEUM OF ART/PURCHASE, 2017 BENEFIT FUND; LILA ACHESON WALLACE GIFT; LOUIS V. BELL, HARRIS BRISBANE DICK, FLETCHER, AND ROGERS FUNDS AND JOSEPH PULITZER BEQUEST; LEONA SOBEL EDUCATION AND THE CAMILLE M. LOWNDS FUNDS; AND 2016 BENEFIT FUND, 2017 (2017.255B)

The Metropolitan Museum of Art in New York has acquired the gilded lid of a first-century Egyptian coffin. The work will now be on view in the museum’s Egyptian galleries.

Since 1971, the coffin has been owned by a private collector (whose name is not disclosed on the Met’s website or in the release about the work). It had been sold to the collector by the heirs to the holdings of Habib Tawadrus, an antiquities dealer, and made its way to Europe—with an export license—in 1977.

The coffin features an inscription for Nedjemankh, a priest to Heryshef, a ram god that had been worshipped by many in Middle Egypt. The inside of the coffin’s lid is covered in silver foil, to protect the priest’s face and, along with the gold on the coffin’s outside, to assist Nedjemankh in the afterlife. An inscription on the coffin’s front links precious metals to the flesh of the gods.