Ancient Egypt
Graeco-Roman period (30 BC - AD 395) / Coptic (AD 395-642)


Object :
Nº 175
Medium :
Dimensions :
Height: 20 cm – Length: 18 cm - Width: 15 cm

Description :

Feminine mask in ivory-coloured, fine grain stucco. The inlaid eyes are of molten glass; the open black pupil and the slightly cross-eyed look were the custom for representing beauty. The canons of beauty are clearly Greek: aquiline nose, well curved eyebrows, slightly smiling lips and dimple in the chin. Hollow inside, this mask recalls Hellenistic sculpture with its perfect oval shape and its high ears. The subject wears an impressive hairstyle of curls on which traces of black polychromy are still visible. It was the custom that the face is also painted. The stucco was cast in successive layers into a mould then the various parts were assembled after turning it out.

This mask replaces, in the Ptolemaic and Roman period, the pharaonic mask of previous times. The production of this type of object in stucco being in series, the hairstyle and the jewels allowed the object to resemble perfectly. The Book of the Dead reminds us that the funeral mask constituted an essential element of the protection of the head of the deceased, each part of which was identified with a divinity.