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HOME : Egyptian Antiquities : Roman Period : Roman Period Stucco Funerary Mask of a Woman
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Roman Period Stucco Funerary Mask of a Woman - X.0440
Origin: Egypt
Circa: 2 nd Century AD to 3 rd Century AD
Dimensions: 7.75" (19.7cm) high
Collection: Egyptian
Medium: Stucco

Location: United States
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This gorgeous plaster funerary mask reveals that the traditional Egyptian arts continued to flourish even under Roman rule. In fact, the Egyptian style was reinvigorated with a healthy dose of Roman classicism that elegantly merges with the stylized traditions of Egypt. Here, a woman has been depicted with curly hair, solemn features, and a tight-lipped expression. Overall, her physiognomy is typical of the multiethnic population of Roman Period Egypt. Her skin has been painted a soft white hue, while her hair and eyebrows have been painted black. Remnants of red hue are visible on her lips. Her eyes and lashes have been detailed in black paint. Most of these life-size masks were made for Greek and Roman merchants and administrators who settled in Egypt. They generally show some attempts at portraying an individual, but with conventionalized features. These heads were made separately in molds, with gender-specific details added subsequently, and attached to the mummy case or cartonnage so that they are half raised up off the surface, as if the deceased was just awaking in his new afterlife. The masks were usually painted with realistic colors and some were even gilt. Looking into this mask is like looking into a mirror. It is easy to see ourselves inside this carefully modeled face. We wonder if her life, if her cares and concerns, were really that different than our own? - (X.0440)


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