Length: 170.000 cm
Henry Salt Collection
Room 62-63: Egyptian mummies
Mummy mask of Hornedjitef
From the burial of Hornedjitef, Asasif, Thebes,
Early Ptolemaic Period, around 220 BC
Hornedjitef was a priest in the Temple of
The form and
decoration of Hornedjitef's coffins follow the pharaonic
funerary tradition. The mummy was covered from shoulder to foot
Hornedjitef's idealized youthful face is golden, showing that he has become divine. Around his brow is a version of a spell in which the parts of his head are identified with the bodily members of various gods. Both the spell and the mask were intended to protect the head from being separated from the body, something that was greatly feared by ancient Egyptians, as it would prevent the deceased reaching the Afterlife, and also elevate the deceased to divine status.
Soon after the time when Hornedjitef died, Hellenistic influences brought great changes to the appearance of Egyptian burials. See, for example, the coffin of Taminis, and one of an unknown woman, also in the British Museum.
J. Mack (ed.), Masks: the art of expression (London, The British Museum Press, 1994)
S. Walker and M. Bierbrier, Ancient faces: mummy portrai-1 (London, The British Museum Press, 1997)