Date

4-28-2020

Description

The mysterious mummy portraits of the Fayum have only recently become a more widely discussed topic in the academia of art history and Egyptology, due to its uniqueness and the limited number of portraits and shrouds available to be studied (and even out of the handful that have been found, many have incurred severe damage or fading over its two millennia of existence). However, even from the smattering of portraits we have left, conclusions can be drawn which provide us with further insight into the interplay between Greco-Roman culture and Egyptian funerary tradition. These shrouds are representations of incredible artistry and workmanship, which clearly reflect a society that emphasized the image of self and society through symbols and portraits, with each and every stroke revealing a little bit more detail of what was important to the people who lived, breathed, and embodied the blending of three very different traditions and histories. Through the similarities in the artwork between the remaining shrouds, paying particularly close attention to the handful of three-figure shrouds that survive, I posit that there are a variety of reasons and factors which have melted together to result in the unique funerary artworks we see today, and that despite not having one single answer, we have many that all each play its unique role in educating us about this wonderfully strange era in Egyptology and art history.

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Apr 28th, 12:00 AM

Three-figure Shrouds: The Strange, Stranger, and Strangers

The mysterious mummy portraits of the Fayum have only recently become a more widely discussed topic in the academia of art history and Egyptology, due to its uniqueness and the limited number of portraits and shrouds available to be studied (and even out of the handful that have been found, many have incurred severe damage or fading over its two millennia of existence). However, even from the smattering of portraits we have left, conclusions can be drawn which provide us with further insight into the interplay between Greco-Roman culture and Egyptian funerary tradition. These shrouds are representations of incredible artistry and workmanship, which clearly reflect a society that emphasized the image of self and society through symbols and portraits, with each and every stroke revealing a little bit more detail of what was important to the people who lived, breathed, and embodied the blending of three very different traditions and histories. Through the similarities in the artwork between the remaining shrouds, paying particularly close attention to the handful of three-figure shrouds that survive, I posit that there are a variety of reasons and factors which have melted together to result in the unique funerary artworks we see today, and that despite not having one single answer, we have many that all each play its unique role in educating us about this wonderfully strange era in Egyptology and art history.