Facing the Dead
in Golden Mummies of Egypt
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The use of painted wooden panel portraits on Roman Period Egyptian mummies is discussed as a significant development in the representation of the human image, one which carried specific appeal for Western collectors familiar with European painting, and which raise the challenge for a modern audience of ‘unknowing’ deep-seated preconceptions about depictions of the human form when imagining the experience of an ancient viewer. Technique and style is explored, as well as degrees of likeness to the subjects and what the portraits can tell us about their lives and Ancient Egyptian conceptions of identity. Nineteenth-century acquisitions of panel portraits are discussed, and the popularity of the portraits in travelling exhibitions and at Petrie’s annual exhibition of finds at the Egyptian Hall in London’s Piccadilly.

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Golden Mummies of Egypt

Interpreting identities from the Graeco-Roman period

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