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shroud

  • Object type

  • Museum number

    EA73807

  • Description

    Fragmentary linen shroud of a woman named Resti, with texts and vignettes from the Book of the Dead.

  • Culture/period

  • Findspot

  • Materials

  • Technique

  • Dimensions

    • Height: 86 centimetres (fragment 1 before conservation)
    • Width: 53 centimetres (fragment 1 before conservation)
    • Height: 62 centimetres (fragment 2 before conservation)
    • Width: 144.5 centimetres (fragment 2 before conservation)
    • Height: 111.5 centimetres (fragment 3 before conservation)
    • Width: 119 centimetres (fragment 3 before conservation)
    • Height: 58 centimetres (fragment 4 before conservation)
    • Width: 157 centimetres (fragment 4 before conservation)
  • Inscriptions

      • Inscription Type

        inscription
      • Inscription Script

        cursive hieroglyphic
      • Inscription Language

        Middle Egyptian
      • Inscription Translation

        Titles/epithets include : Lady of the House
      • Inscription Comment

        Book of the Dead : upper register Osiris hymn - [ .. ] - unidentified - 124 - 83 - 84 - 85 - 77 ; middle register 86 (end) - [ .. ] - unidentified - 123 - 27 - 44 - 30A - 54 - 38B ; lower register 42 and (?) 125 - 149 - unidentified
  • Curator's comments

    Nicholson and Shaw, Ancient Egyptian Materials and Technology (Cambridge 2000), p. 114, 116, 119

  • Condition

    poor

  • Conservation

    See treatments 

    Treatment date

    17 December 1993

    Reason for treatment

    Storage

    Treatment proposal

    Remove creases. Attach to backing support. Consult AK re. placement of fragments.

    Condition

    Extremely creased and folded. Highly fragmentary. Indecipherable on arrival in laboratory. After initial humidification, still highly creased. Friable pigment, particularly on vignettes. Loose and fraying fibres. Areas of extreme brittleness corresponding to body decomposition stains. Evidence of cuts causing further fragmentation. Central area of shroud completely missing. On alignment by Curator, shroud falls into four main sections, composed of several fragments in two cases.

    Treatment details

    1. Each textile fragment was gradually humidified in a humidity chamber, using distilled water vapour over a period of five days to raise the relative humidity from 60% - 80% and to lower it from 80% - 60% over this period. As the fibres relaxed, creases were eased out and the textile gradually reshaped and held in position with flat glass weights. During humidification, the textile rested on absorbent paper over a mesh screen to allow circulation of moist air. (Gillian Bott) Although still creased, the fragments (A - N) could now be correctly positioned, with the assistance of the curator, to form four main sections. The following treatment was carried out for each of these. 2. Each section was further humidified in a Lascaux Humidity Chamber, raising the relative humidity to 90% over 2 days. Each fragment was gradually pinned out using entomological pins, aligning the weave as far as possible. At this stage the creases and weaving details could be recorded and permission to remove the creases was given by the textile consultant. 3. The pigments (see technical reports for analysis) were consolidated with 2.5% Paraloid B72 (ethyl methacrylate copolymer) in xylene, using a fine sable brush. 4. The consolidated sections were returned to the humidity cabinet and prepared for the vacuum table treatment, conditioning the textile to 90% RH for transfer to the table which would be pre-humidified. The textile was pinned and aligned as before onto layers of thick Plastazote (polyethylene) covered with thin Melinex (polyester). On the evening prior to treatment, the pins were removed and a layer of Goretex (polytetrafluoro ethylene,polyester laminate) was gradually rolled over the relaxed textile, keeping it in place and also providing a permeable layer to allow further moisture to impregnate the fibres without the risk of excess wetting out. The Goretex was weighted around the edges, avoiding the textile. The cabinet was set to 85%RH overnight. 5. Sheets of japanese mulberry paper, 'kuranoi', were pasted out with a brush onto thick Melinex (polyester) with 3% water-based solutions of 75:25 Blanose 7MC (sodium carboxymethyl cellulose): Arrowroot Starch adhesive. The papers were left to dry. The prepared sheets were then joined prior to the vacuum table treatment by spotting an overlap of 1.5 cm with the same adhesive and weighting the joins overnight. Thus four large areas of backing paper were prepared to the required dimensions for each textile section. 6. Each of the four textile sections was treated in turn. The large sheet of paper was placed on thick Bondina (non woven polyester) onto the vacuum table's perforated screen with the 'shiny' adhesive-coated layer uppermost. The table was left uncovered and pre-heated. Distilled water vapour was introduced raising the humidity to 70% RH. At this stage the textile was transferred directly from the humidity cabinet (at 90% RH) to the vacuum table, sandwiched between thin Melinex and Goretex as previously described. 7. The Goretex was gently removed and the textile, which still retained much of its humidity, was very gradually slid from the Melinex on which it had been pinned to the conditioned adhesive coated paper. This operation was done with the help of palette knives and tweezers. As soon as the textile had been satisfactorily positioned on the paper, aligned and square, thin Bondina was rolled gently over the surface of the textile and the table's length. A latex sheet was then rolled over the entire surface of the table, providing a complete seal. The combined effects of vacuum pressure and controlled humidification reactivated the adhesive on the backing papers. A programme of dehumidification then created the bond between the textile and the backing. The temperature of the table was kept constant at 32 C throughout the entire humidification and dehumidification process which lasted 2.5 hours. The humidity was gradually raised to 90% before lowering again to ambient humidity. The maximum vacuum pressure applied was 36 millibars. 8. The supported sections were placed on lightweight Correx (polypropylene) board cut to the appropriate dimensions for the paper. Each textile was protected by a 10mm thick sheet of Plastazote (polyethylene) cut to form a window-mount around the contours of the textile fragments. The board, paper and Plastazote 'sandwich' was then placed in permanent Melinex (polyester) sleeves to provide safe and accessible storage for study in the Papyrus room. The sleeves were sealed with a narrow strip of Melinex, woven in and out of slits at one edge. It would be possible, should the 'Book of the Dead' be required for display, to mount the paper backing more permanently onto Aerolam F board (glass fibre,epoxy laminate on aluminiun honeycombe) in the future.

    About these records 

  • Associated titles

    • Inscription from: Book of the Dead
  • Department

    Ancient Egypt & Sudan

  • BM/Big number

    EA73807

  • Registration number

    1993,0118.1


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Object reference number: YCA40479

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