What Is an Ancient Egyptian Coffin Called?

The Ancient Egyptians used a few types of coffins, including the cartonnage mummy case, anthropoid coffin and sarcophagus derived from the Greek words “sarx” and “phagien” for “flesh-eating.” Body parts were placed inside canopic jars.

The sarcophagus was a stone coffin engraved and decorated with gems. The body was placed there after having internal organs removed and stored in a canopic jar.

During the New Kingdom, the cartonnage mummy case was an important part of Egyptian burials. Constructed from papyrus, linen and plaster, it was a light case placed between the linen-wrapped mummy and outer coffin. It was painted, decorated and molded to match the shape of the mummy.

Anthropoid coffins were popular in the Middle Kingdom and were more elaborate. These were decorated with wigs and painted with a face so that the coffin could serve as a substitute body in case of loss or destruction of the real body.