Mummy portrait of a child - ROM2011_12102_7


Mummy portrait of a child

Medium:Encaustic (wax pigment) on wood
Geography: Found in al-Fayyūm, Egypt
Date: about 200-250 CE
Period: Roman Imperial period
34.2 × 13.3 × 0.1 cm
Object number: 918.20.2
Credit Line: The Walter Massey Collection
Not on view

Encaustic Mummy Portraits

Realistic painted portraits of the deceased, introduced to Egypt by the Romans, were popular from about 25 to 350 AD. These portraits were painted on wooden panels and inserted into the mummy wrappings at the head. The encaustic technique involved mixing pigment with bee's wax. The wax was heated, then applied thickly with a palette knife and blended to add tone, texture and depth to the portrait.

Roman WorldEgypt
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