Mummy of a child

From Hawara, Egypt
Roman Period, AD 40-55

With a portrait in tempera on linen

This is one of the mummies discovered by Flinders Petrie in his excavations in the Roman cemeteries near the pyramid at Hawara in 1887/8. From Petrie's excavation notebooks it appears that this child was the offspring of a woman whose mummy is now in the Cairo Museum.

The child's mummy has been elaborately wrapped, and a well-executed panel portrait of the dead child inserted into the outer layers of the wrappings. Over the torso of the mummy is a shroud painted with various scenes of the Egyptian religious tradition, with the sky goddess Nut at the top. In the centre of the scenes is a band that would have been filled with a text, which was never added.

CT scans of the mummy show that it was indeed that of a young person; the bones have been displaced, perhaps by the tightness of the wrappings. A possible tumour has been identified on the leg bones, unless this is simply resin which seeped in during the mummification process.

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More information

Bibliography

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

Dimensions

Length: 91.000 cm
Width: 30.500 cm

Museum number

EA 21809

YCA5537

Gift of H. Martyn Kennard

Location

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