Ancient Faces: Mummy Portraits in Roman Egypt

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When they were first discovered over a century ago, the painted panel and shroud portraits of Roman Egypt were a revelation to scholars and public alike. Even today they constitute the only corpus of coloured images of individuals to survive from classical antiquity. Many of the paintings are of outstanding artistic quality; as a whole, they reflect a range of techniques and styles, often related to specific communities." "Many of the best-known portraits come from the Fayum, but portraits in various media are known from sites in the Nile Valley and along the Mediterranean coast. Here a wide range is presented, showing Roman influence coexisting with traditional Egyptian ways of commemorating the dead.
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Editorial Reviews

Library Journal
When Rome conquered Egypt, two great cultures combined, taking some of the best qualities of each to form an amalgam. The Egyptian belief in the afterlife held strong appeal, but so did the Roman practice of portraiture. As a result, portrait painting was added to traditional Egyptian funerary practices to produce the unique and haunting "mummy portraits," some of the earliest portraits still in existence. The first "ancient faces" exhibit appeared at the British Museum in 1997. When the Metropolitan Museum of Art decided to do its own version, it expanded on the original core group of portraits by adding material from European and North American collections. Walker, deputy keeper of Greek and Roman Antiquities at the British Museum, edited the catalog for both shows. Consequently, they are very similar in most respects; five of the seven essays in this volume appeared first in the British catalog. Recommended for academic and larger public libraries not owning the British catalog.--Mary Morgan Smith, Northland P.L., Pittsburgh Copyright 2000 Cahners Business Information.\
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Product Details

Meet the Author

Susan Walker is Deputy Keeper of the Department of Greek and Roman Antiquities, the British Museum. Her publications include Greek and Roman Portraits and Roman Art.

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Table of Contents

Acknowledgements 6
Director's Foreword 7
Map 8
Before the Portraits: Burial Practices in Pharaonic Egypt 9
Graeco-Roman Portraiture 14
Mummy Portraits and Roman Portraiture 23
The Fayum and its People 26
Technique 30
The Discovery of the Mummy Portraits 32
A Note on the Dating of Mummy Portraits 34
Portraits and Mummies from Hawara 38
Gilded Masks from Hawara 66
Portraits from er-Rubayat (Philadelphia) 69
Portraits from Antinoopolis and other Sites 88
Portraits of Technical Interest 120
Pagan Icons 124
Portraits on Painted Plaster Masks 128
Stone Funerary Stelae 141
Portraits of the Later Third Century A.D. from Dier el-Bahri and Antinoopolis 145
The Cultural and Archaeological Context 149
Select Bibliography 161
Glossary 163
Egyptian Deities and Chronology 164
Lenders to the Exhibition and Photographic Acknowledgements 165
Concordance of Catalogue and Museum Numbers 166
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