Early boxes

The origins of the bed-frame, stool and chair were firmly established by the end of the Early Dynastic Period. It was during the Old Kingdom that boxes developed in all shapes and sizes. In the Old Kingdom tombs at Saqqara there are many wall reliefs which illustrate this. Earlier boxes were made from plain boards that were corner-jointed together while later examples are of frame and panel construction. Some are painted while others are inlaid or veneered. In the Fourth Dynasty tomb of Queen Meresankh III a number of simple rectangular boxes are illustrated, some having round or barrel-shaped lids (figure 42). By the

42. Box with round or barrel-shaped lid, Fourth Dynasty, tomb of Queen Meresankh in, Giza. (After Dunham, The Mastaba of Queen Mersyankh III, Boston, 1974, figure 5.)

43. Two boxes, Sixth Dynasty, burial chamber of Penu, M.VII, Saqqara. (After Jequier, Tombeaux de Particuliers, Contemporains de Pepi II, Cairo, 1929, figure 50.)

end of the Sixth Dynasty lids are shown in both the shrine and gable form (figure 43).

Egyptians used boxes to carry heavy loads over long distances. An early illustration in the tomb of Queen Meresankh III shows a plain rectangular box carried on a pair of poles by two porters (figure 44). The box appears simply to rest on the carrying poles. The improvement in the quality and design of these larger boxes can be seen in the Sixth Dynasty tomb of Mereruka (figure 45). This box is of frame and panel construction with a gable lid set on a cavetto-shaped cornice with a torus moulding below. The carrying handles are separate elements and can be pushed in under the box when not being carried. The handles, which run in copper staples, would have been shaped so they could not be fully withdrawn. An almost identical box was discovered by Howard Carter in the tomb of Tutankhamun in 1922.

45. Porters carrying a large chest, Sixth Dynasty, tomb of Mereruka, Saqqara. (After Duell, The Mastaba of Mereruka, Chicago, 1938, plate 69.)

The first example of a cavetto cornice can be found on a pavilion in the heb-sed festival courty^ w'thin the Third Dynasty Step Pyramid funerary complex of Djoser at Saqqara. A torus moulding was also applied to the sarcophagus/f King Menkaure who ruled during the Fourth Dynasty, and was discovered at Giza This sarcophagus was unfortunately lost at sea while being ransported to London in 1838 From as early as the Fifth P^sty mouldings were decoratively applied to boxes. A particularly fi«e examPle « illustrated in the tomb of Ti. The curved surface of the cornice has been vert.cally nbbed, perhaps with plaster, and then gilded-

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