What just happened?

To celebrate Vikings Live, we have replaced our Roman alphabet with the runic alphabet used by the Vikings, the Scandinavian ‘Younger Futhark’. The ‘Younger Futhark’ has only 16 letters, so we have used some of the runic letters more than once or combined two runes for one Roman letter.

For an excellent introduction to runes, we recommend Martin Findell’s book published by British Museum Press.

More information about how we have ‘runified’ this site

 

Collection online

Additional options
Production date to

Or search by

Searching...

mummy-portrait

  • Object type

  • Museum number

    EA74703

  • Description

    Portrait of a woman in encaustic on limewood: the panel is broken by vertical cracks and strips of paint are lost around them. The flesh surface (originally ivory) has been worked with a spatula. Traces of the mummy wrappings appear as diagonal lines at the upper and lower corners of the panel. The background is grey with a touch of cream.
    The woman wears a white tunic, the folds clearly rendered with broad brush-strokes, with dark red clavi. White stitches representing the shoulder seam appear below the proper right shoulder. The mantle is worn over the proper left shoulder and appears as a line above the right shoulder; touches of ochre are used to highlight this and the clavus.
    Round the neck is a gold chain with a pendant crescent, matched by gold hoop earrings. This, and the form of the dress, might suggest a date a century earlier than that offered by the hairstyle. The hair is black and curly, cut close to the head in African style, but markedly frizzy around the outer edge in the manner of later second- and third-century coiffures. It is possible that the subject was dressed (and perhaps even buried) in ancestral clothes and jewellery for the occasion of the portrait.
    The eyes are brown and almond-shaped, with markedly arched eyebrows fading at the outer edges. The lips are pink, with a slight smile. Cream highlights are used here and on the nose, but this part of the face is particularly damaged.

    More 

  • Culture/period

  • Date

    • 190-220
  • Findspot

  • Materials

  • Technique

  • Dimensions

    • Height: 31 centimetres
    • Width: 21.5 centimetres
  • Curator's comments

    Bibliography:
    W. M. F. Petrie, 'The Hawara Portfolio: Paintings of the Roman Age' (1913), pl. 8 (colour);
    W. M. F. Petrie, 'Hawara, Biahmu and Arsinoe' (1889), 45;
    K. Parlasca, 'Ritratti di Mummie'. In A. Adriani (ed.), 'Repertorio d'arte dell'Egitto greco-romano'. 2 ser. II (1977), 68, no. 400 (bibl.), pl. 99.1;
    E. Doxiadis, 'The Mysterious Fayum Portraits. Faces from Ancient Egypt' (1995), 208, no. 79;
    B. Borg, ‘Mumienporträts. Chronologie und kulterelle Kontext (1996), 66;
    Doxiadis (1998), 140 no. 21 with pl. p. 69;
    M. F. Aubert and R. Cortopassi 'Portraits de l'Égypte Romaine' (1998), no, 113, no. 60;
    Parlasca and Seeman 1999, 136 no. 37;
    S. Walker and M. Bierbrier, 'Fayum. Misteriosi volti dall'Egitto', London 1997, p. 95 [68];
    'Portraits: De l’Egypte Romaine', Paris 1998, pp.110, 113 [60];
    S. Walker, 'Ancient Faces', New York 2000, pp. 63-64 [25].

    More 

  • Bibliography

    • Walker, S 2000 25 bibliographic details
    • Walker & Bierbrier 1997 52 bibliographic details
    • Paris 1998 no.60 bibliographic details
    • Parlasca & Seeman 1999 p.136, no.37 bibliographic details
  • Exhibition history

    Exhibited:

    1997 15 Oct-1998 30 Apr, Italy, Rome, Fondazione Memmo, Ancient Faces
    2006-2015 (Renewable), Glasgow, Kelvingrove, Long term loan.

  • Condition

    fair - vertical cracks

  • Conservation

    See treatments 

  • Acquisition name

  • Acquisition date

    1994

  • Acquisition notes

    Excavated 1888.

  • Department

    Ancient Egypt & Sudan

  • BM/Big number

    EA74703

  • Registration number

    1994,0521.1

  • Additional IDs

    • National Gallery 1260
Portrait of a woman in encaustic on limewood: the panel is broken by vertical cracks and strips of paint are lost around them. The flesh surface (originally ivory) has been worked with a spatula. Traces of the mummy wrappings appear as diagonal lines at the upper and lower corners of the panel. The background is grey with a touch of cream.

The woman wears a white tunic, the folds clearly rendered with broad brush-strokes, with dark red clavi. White stitches representing the shoulder seam appear below the proper right shoulder. The mantle is worn over the proper left shoulder and appears as a line above the right shoulder; touches of ochre are used to highlight this and the clavus.

Round the neck is a gold chain with a pendant crescent, matched by gold hoop earrings. This, and the form of the dress, might suggest a date a century earlier than that offered by the hairstyle. The hair is black and curly, cut close to the head in African style, but markedly frizzy around the outer edge in the manner of later second- and third-century coiffures. It is possible that the subject was dressed (and perhaps even buried) in ancestral clothes and jewellery for the occasion of the portrait.

The eyes are brown and almond-shaped, with markedly arched eyebrows fading at the outer edges. The lips are pink, with a slight smile. Cream highlights are used here and on the nose, but this part of the face is particularly damaged.

Portrait of a woman in encaustic on limewood: the panel is broken by vertical cracks and strips of paint are lost around them. The flesh surface (originally ivory) has been worked with a spatula. Traces of the mummy wrappings appear as diagonal lines at the upper and lower corners of the panel. The background is grey with a touch of cream. The woman wears a white tunic, the folds clearly rendered with broad brush-strokes, with dark red clavi. White stitches representing the shoulder seam appear below the proper right shoulder. The mantle is worn over the proper left shoulder and appears as a line above the right shoulder; touches of ochre are used to highlight this and the clavus. Round the neck is a gold chain with a pendant crescent, matched by gold hoop earrings. This, and the form of the dress, might suggest a date a century earlier than that offered by the hairstyle. The hair is black and curly, cut close to the head in African style, but markedly frizzy around the outer edge in the manner of later second- and third-century coiffures. It is possible that the subject was dressed (and perhaps even buried) in ancestral clothes and jewellery for the occasion of the portrait. The eyes are brown and almond-shaped, with markedly arched eyebrows fading at the outer edges. The lips are pink, with a slight smile. Cream highlights are used here and on the nose, but this part of the face is particularly damaged.

Image description

Recommend


Feedback

If you’ve noticed a mistake or have any further information about this object, please email: collectiondatabase@britishmuseum.org 

View open data for this object with SPARQL endpoint

Object reference number: YCA60639

British Museum collection data is also available in the W3C open data standard, RDF, allowing it to join and relate to a growing body of linked data published by organisations around the world.

View this object

Support the Museum:
donate online

The Museum makes its collection database available to be used by scholars around the world. Donations will help support curatorial, documentation and digitisation projects.

About the database

The British Museum collection database is a work in progress. New records, updates and images are added every week.

More about the database 

Supporters

Work on this database is supported by a range of sponsors, donors and volunteers.

More about supporters and how you
can help  

Loading...