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Fayyum Portraits of Christians. Ray Chan. Basic Information. Most were discovered around the Fayyum region of Egypt First appeared in the middle of the 1 st Century AD Painted on thin panels of wood which were cut and shaped to fit the mummies

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basic information
Basic Information
  • Most were discovered around the Fayyum region of Egypt
  • First appeared in the middle of the 1st Century AD
  • Painted on thin panels of wood which were cut and shaped to fit the mummies
  • Portraits were inserted over the mummy wrappings and covered the mummy
  • Purpose was to serve as a record of the deceased of the way that person appeared in life
98 mummy of a woman with a painted p laster and linen m ask
#98- Mummy of a Woman with a Painted Plaster and Linen Mask
  • Painted sometime around A.D. 270-280 during the Roman Period
  • Excavated in King Mentuhotep II’s forecourt
  • One of the two complete mummies surviving from excavations at Deirel-Bahri
  • Face was reconstructed around 1983/1984
  • Roman fashion as portrayed in the portraits
99 portrait of a woman in encaustic and tempera on a linen shroud
#99- Portrait of a Woman in Encaustic and Tempera on a Linen Shroud
  • 4th Century AD
  • Excavated at Antinoopolis
  • Contains aspects of Roman, Greek, and Egyptian culture
    • Greek inscription of name and age
    • Gesture of protection and veneration representative of Isis
    • Purple colored dalmatic (tunic)- Roman symbol of power and immortality
    • Ultimately reveals that the 4th Century AD was a period of transition between paganism and Christianity
takeaways from fayyum portraits
Takeaways from Fayyum Portraits
  • Portraits of young men/women illustrate the low life expectancy during that period
  • Proof of the interaction of Greek, Roman, and Egyptian culture
    • Burial practices of Egypt with added details of Roman and Greek styles through fashion, inscriptions, etc.
  • Due to the costs of mummification and painting of portraits, only the wealthy class could afford such practices
    • Since the wealthy in the Roman period were Greeks and Romans, this leads to the possibility of Egyptian influence of Greek and Roman culture