Ready for Eternity

An encaustic portrait of a woman from a tomb in Tebtunis, Fayūm, Egypt. Roman Egypt, circa 125-140 CE. 6-21376.

The adult woman from this portrait faces eternity in her finest: а deep red mantle, a tunic with black clavi, a hefty golden chain necklace, and golden bar earrings with four pearls each. Hundreds of funerary panel paintings on wood have come from the Fayūm region. The dry climate of Egypt as well as their medium—in this case, pigments dissolved in wax—have ensured the preservation of their vibrant hues. Portraits like this were placed over the face of the mummified body of the deceased. Once the panel was securely wrapped to the mummy, its background was sometimes gilded.

-Brianna Chavez

Return to the main page of the exhibit Rediscovering Ancient Women: Fragments of Their Lives from the Mediterranean Collections at the Hearst Museum of Anthropology or follow one of the links below to continue.

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