**Holiday Shipping Deadlines**
USA Domestic: 12/14 for Standard; 12/23 for Express
International: 12/7 for Standard; 12/19 for Express
Egypt, Romano-Egyptian period, ca. 1st century CE. A stunning gathering of mummy decorations made from cartonnage, the head formed with a rounded mold, and the feet with a curved mold. The headpiece has a gilt face outlined in red, a winged scarab on top the blue-and-white wig, four mourners on the front, and a fifth on the back. The chest piece features two falcon heads surmounted with sun discs, an ornate wesekh-collar, and two additional mourners above a winged Nut. The rectangular abdominal panel shows another depiction of the winged Nut, and the leg panel has the four Sons of Horus and two additional figures flanking a vertical hieroglyphic inscription. The feet bear intricate gilt shoes with three ankhs each and scaled soles on the bottom, with the Sons of Horus and a funerary boat on one side, and images of Osiris, Ammit, and Anubis on the other. Polychrome pigment decorates layers of gesso, and floral motifs decorate several other areas. Size of largest (chest piece): 15.75" W x 14.2" H (40 cm x 36.1 cm); 64.5" H (163.8 cm) on included custom stand.
Ancient Egyptians believed it was of the utmost importance to preserve the body of the deceased, because the soul needed a place to reside after the death of the physical corpus. Preservation of the body was done via mummification - a process involving the removal of internal organs that were placed in canopic jars, wrapping the body in linen, and then embalming. Artisans were able to employ the use of different materials when crafting sarcophagi or any elements to be placed atop the body of the deceased. Earlier mummy accoutrements were carved from wood, while later examples were made of cartonnage, a material formed from papyrus or linen that is soaked in plaster which is then applied to a wooden mold.
All Egyptian funerary art was laden with symbolism that, by the Third Intermediate Period, had become ancient tradition, and these pieces are of no exception. The focus near the bottom of the chest and abdominal panels is the winged sun goddess Nut, her magnificent wings spread wide and ornately painted. Nut and her brother Geb, who was the god of the Earth, were the parents of Isis, whose story is central to the resurrection of the god Osiris - who in turn was central to the written and painted symbols of resurrection of the dead that formed such a crucial part of Egyptian cosmology.
Also featured on the leg and foot panels are some of the most recognizable and symbolically significant figures in ancient Egyptian mythos: The Sons of Horus. The four Sons of Horus are the baboon-headed Hapi - representative of the north and guardian of the lungs who is protected by the goddess Nephthys; the human-headed Imsety - representative of the south and guardian of the liver who is protected by the goddess Isis; the jackal-headed Duamutef - representative of the east and guardian of the stomach who is protected by the goddess Neith; and the falcon-headed Qebehsenuef - representative of the west and guardian of the intestines protected by the goddess Serqet. Horus's sons were the ones charged with protecting the various internal organs, as they had originally been charged with protecting the body of Osiris; as a result, their heads often form the lids of canopic jars.
Altogether, this cartonnage ensemble would have protected a mummy's body; the highly trained artists who created it as well, as the bereaved family members who commissioned it, believed in the power of the symbols and words they painted to aid the deceased in their journey to and tasks while in the afterlife.
For a stylistically similar example of a gilded headpiece, please see: Ikram, Salima and Aidan Dodson. "The Mummy in Ancient Egypt: Equipping the Dead for Eternity." Thames & Hudson, London, 1998, p. 187, fig. 218.
For an example from the Ptolemaic period of how these components would be placed on a linen-wrapped mummy body, please see The Metropolitan Museum of Art, accession number 86.1.51.
Provenance: private J.H. collection, Beaverton, Oregon, USA; (head mask) ex-Harlan J. Berk collection, Chicago, Illinois, USA; ex-private American collection, bought in Acapulco, Mexico more than 30 years ago
All items legal to buy/sell under U.S. Statute covering cultural patrimony Code 2600, CHAPTER 14, and are guaranteed to be as described or your money back.
A Certificate of Authenticity will accompany all winning bids.
We ship worldwide and handle all shipping in-house for your convenience.
Components are likely not from the same mummy. Losses to peripheral areas of head, chest, abdominal, leg, and foot panels as shown. Repairs to some chipped areas of painted gesso, with losses and light adhesive residue along break lines. Minor abrasions and nicks to all components, with fading to gilding and original pigmentation, light encrustations within some components, and expected desiccation commensurate with age. Fabulous traces of original pigment and gilding throughout. Chest, abdominal, and leg panels mounted within acrylic frame for stability and mounting purposes.