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Mummy portrait of a young woman

unknownabout 100 AD

Royal Ontario Museum

Royal Ontario Museum

This expressive portrait shows a wealthy young woman who lived and died in Egypt during the Roman period. The wooden panel comes from a linen-wrapped mummy, combining the ancient Egyptian tradition for mummification with a Roman tradition of representing the deceased. The woman herself was probably of Greek ancestry, reflecting the mix of populations in Egypt following the conquest of Alexander the Great. Alexander’s general, Ptolemy, and his descendants ruled Egypt until it became part of the Roman Empire with the defeat of Cleopatra VII in 30 BC. The mummy was discovered in 1888 by Flinders Petrie when he was excavating the necropolis at Hawara in the Egyptian Fayyum. The portrait was taken to England as part of the collection of H. Martyn Kennard, who funded Petrie’s excavations. In 1912 Charles Trick Currelly bought it for the Royal Ontario Museum through the generosity of Walter Massey.

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Details

  • Title: Mummy portrait of a young woman
  • Creator: unknown
  • Date: about 100 AD
  • Location: Hawwarat al-Maqda, al-Fayyum, Egypt
  • Physical Dimensions: w22 cm
  • Provenance: The Walter Massey Collection
  • Type: portrait
  • Rights: Royal Ontario Museum
  • Medium: Encaustic (wax pigment) painting on wood panel
  • Time period: Roman Egypt
  • Length: 41.7
  • Accession Number: 918.20.1

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