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  • Object type

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  • Description

    Wooden face of a coffin: the large tenon at the top slotted into the wig, and a single wooden dowel through this held the face in position; a bituminous adhesive was also applied. Although the face represents a generic image of the resurrected dead person, it is, nonetheless, a superb example of wood-carving. The facial contours, in particular the cheeks, nose and mouth, have been rendered with great sensitivity. The eyes, inlaid with ivory and obsidian, with bronze cosmetic lines, give a wonderfully vivid and alert impression. The face is split down one side.


  • Culture/period

  • Date

    • 1400BC (or later)
  • Findspot

  • Materials

  • Technique

  • Dimensions

    • Length: 18 centimetres
    • Width: 14 centimetres
  • Curator's comments

    S. Walker and M. Bierbrier, 'Fayum. Misteriosi volti dall'Egitto' (London, 1997), p. 43 [8];
    S. Quirke, ‘Ancient Egyptian Religion’ (London, 1992), pp. 146-147, fig. 86;
    J.H. Taylor and N.C. Strudwick, Mummies: Death and the Afterlife in Ancient Egypt. Treasures from The British Museum, Santa Ana and London 2005, pp. 54-5, pl. on p. 55.


  • Bibliography

    • Taylor & Strudwick 2005 p.54-55 bibliographic details
  • Exhibition history


    1989 Jan-Mar, South Florida Science Museum, Imhotep's Egypt: Discovering Ancient Egyptian Technology
    1989 Apr-Jun, Miami, Museum of Science, Imhotep's Egypt: Discovering Ancient Egyptian Technology
    1989 Jul-Aug, Jacksonville Museum of Science History, Imhotep's Egypt: Discovering Ancient Egyptian Technology
    1989 1 Nov-1990 31 Dec, Malaysia, Kuala Lumpar, National Museum of Malaysia, Treasures from the Graves
    1997 15 Oct-1998 30 Apr, Italy, Rome, Fondazione Memmo, Ancient Faces
    2003 17 Jul-12 Oct, Valencia, Instituto Valenciano de Arte Moderno, The Eyesight and the Vision
    2005-2008, California, The Bowers Museum, Death and Afterlife in Ancient Egypt
    19th Nov 2011- 11 Mar 2012. Richmond , VA, Virginia museum of Fine Art. Mummy. The inside story.
    Mar - Oct 2012. Brisbane, Queensland Museum South Bank. Mummy: The Inside Story
    2012/3, Nov-Apr, Mumbai, CSMVS, Mummy: The Inside Story
    2013, Apr-Nov, Singapore, ArtScience Museum, Mummy: The Inside Story

  • Condition

    incomplete - head only

  • Conservation

    See treatments 

  • Acquisition name

  • Acquisition date


  • Department

    Ancient Egypt & Sudan

  • BM/Big number


  • Registration number


  • Additional IDs

    • BS.6887 (Birch Slip Number)
Head from a wooden coffin; inlaid eyes of obsidian and ivory; bronze cosmetic-lines; split down one side.

Head from a wooden coffin; inlaid eyes of obsidian and ivory; bronze cosmetic-lines; split down one side.

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Object reference number: YCA52270

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