History : Jul-Aug 2018
FLOWERS Placed over a distinctly Egyptian headdress, the floral wreath reveals a Roman influence. FEATHERED GUARDS A protective winged divinity appears on either side of the face to guard the deceased in the afterlife. ANUBIS A seated figure of Anubis, god of mummification and protector of the deceased, appears on either side of the face at chin level. Molded Masks THE ROMAN-ERA mask shown on this page was found in the Al Fayyum area. Like the masks that had covered the faces of Egyptian mummies for many centuries before, it is made of cartonnage, a technique in which linen is stiffened with plaster, sculpted into the form of the deceased’s torso and head, and painted. In the Greco-Roman period some masks followed the older, more traditional Egyptian-style designs, typically incorporating a wig and protective necklace known as an usej. This mask features Egyptian gods and religious scenes that will serve to protect the deceased during the journey to the underworld. A crown would often be placed on the head—in this case, a floral wreath, a typically Roman touch. While some masks made an attempt to individualize the deceased’s features, the constraints of cartonnage favored more generic representation.