Circa: 2 nd Century AD
Dimensions: 11.75" (29.8cm) high
Style: Roman Period
Medium: Paint on Wood
Although commonly referred to as “Faiyum portraits,” mummy portraits from Roman Egypt have been found throughout the country, from the Mediterranean coast to the banks of the Nile Valley; however, many of the most celebrated works come from cemeteries in the desert oasis of Faiyum. These fascinating paintings are the product of two worlds, combining Egyptian funerary beliefs with the sophisticated portraiture of the Greco-Roman tradition.
The preservation of the physical remains of the deceased was a central focus of Egyptian funerary customs, eventually leading to the creation of mummies. However, mere preservation of the corpse was not sufficient, the mummy itself had to appear alive. Elaborate coffins and funerary masks evolved to present the remains with the appearance of vitality. Although mummification was still practiced during the Roman Period, the techniques had begun to devolve and many of these mummies have since decayed, leaving behind only these haunting portraits.