Mummy Mask of a Woman (Primary Title)

Unknown (Artist)

ca. 130
Plaster, glass, pigment
Overall: 5 3/4 × 6 1/2 × 7 3/4 in. (14.61 × 16.51 × 19.69 cm)
This beautiful, evocative face is not a true portrait but cast from a mold and individualized with glass eyes and pigment (which even highlights her eyebrows, eyelashes, and nostrils!). The head was originally attached to a mummy board placed over the deceased, an Egyptian tradition dating to the First Intermediate Period (ca. 2000 BC), but the hairstyle dates this example to the reign of Emperor Hadrian (117–138), when Egyptian-grown grain fed the Roman Empire.
Roman Period
Adolph D. and Wilkins C. Williams Fund
1958: M. Jungleish, “Une étrange pratique funéraire datant de l’époque gréco-romaine en Egypte,” Annales du Service des Antiquités de l’Egypte 55 (1958), pp. 57ff, pl. 1.
1961: Ars AntiquaAuktionskatalog Luzern 29.4.1961, p. 10, lot 18, pl. 8
1969: Münzen und Medaillen A.G., Auktionskatalog 40, 13.12.1969, p. 96, lot 160, pl. 70 and color plate
1974: G.Grimm, Die römischen Mumienmasken aus Agypten (1974), p. 41, no. 171; 91, pl. 84.1
1982: H. Jucker and D. Willers (eds.) Gesichter: Griechische und römische Bildnisse aus Schweizer Besitz (exh. cat.) (1982), pp. 242-3 (ill.), no. 107.
Image released via Creative Commons CC-BY-NC

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