Mask of a man together with his skull

From Hu (Diospolis Parva), Egypt
Roman Period, about AD 100-170

In ancient Egypt, funerary images were not restricted to 'mummy portraits' painted on wooden panels. Plaster masks, often extending to cover the upper body, were also found, and seem to have been particularly popular in Middle Egypt.

This portrait mask, which was probably originally attached to a coffin or mummy case, is modelled with great realism. The representation of the muscles of the neck suggest that the person was of an advanced age. The skull from the same burial is that of a mature adult, with moderately worn teeth. Some traces of the mummification process can still be seen on it. X-ray examination has revealed some erosion on the palate, which may be an indication of the process of some disease.

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More information


S. Walker and M. Bierbrier, Ancient faces: mummy portrai-1 (London, The British Museum Press, 1997)

S. Quirke and A.J. Spencer, The British Museum book of anc (London, The British Museum Press, 1992)


Height: 29.500 cm
Width: 18.000 cm
Depth: 14.000 cm

Museum number

EA 30845;EA 30846


Gift of the Egypt Exploration Fund


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