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Painted mummy case of an unnamed man


Length: 174.000 cm
Width: 52.500 cm
Height: 48.000 cm

EA 29584

Room 62-63: Egyptian mummies

    Painted mummy case of an unnamed man

    From Akhmim, Egypt
    Late Ptolemaic or early Roman Period, 50 BC - AD 50

    The British Museum has a number of mummy cases from a tomb at Akhmim (near Sohag) discovered around 1896. They were probably part of a family group, dating to this period. The influence of the Hellenistic world is clear in the costumes depicted on some of the other mummy cases from this group, even though at this time the concept of the anthropoid (human-shaped) container for the deceased was around 2,000 years old in Egypt.

    The body of the case is decorated with scenes of Egyptian gods against a gold background, together with a scene of the mummification of the deceased. On the arms and shoulders is a painted bead net. It is rather unusual for a (non-divine) beard to be shown on the face of such a coffin; while this may be more a stylized representation of the beards which were soon to form part of mummy portraits, it does also look back to burials of the First Intermediate Period (about 2160-2040 BC) in this part of Egypt, when these were common.

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


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    On display: Room 62-63: Egyptian mummies