Mummy portrait of a woman

From Hawara, Egypt
Roman Period, AD 55-70

Most mummy portraits that have survived have unfortunately become separated from the mummies to which they were attached. Because of this we rarely know the identities of the subjects.

This portrait is painted in encaustic on limewood. The woman is dressed in a mauve tunic, and a mantle of a darker shade. She wears gold ball earrings and a gold necklace with a pendant crescent and circular terminals. The hair is plaited into a bun at the back of the crown, with snail curls around the brow and at the sides of the head. Her hairstyle, costume and jewellery indicate that she died some time during the reign of the Roman emperor Nero (AD54-68). It has been said that the athletic quality of this portrait is more appropriate to that of a man.

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More information

Bibliography

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

Dimensions

Height: 41.600 cm
Width: 21.500 cm

Museum number

EA 74713

YCA60738

Excavated by W.M. Flinders Petrie
Gift of the National Gallery, London (1994)

Location

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