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Cartonnage and Mummy of an Anonymous Man

Egyptian, Classical, Ancient Near Eastern Art

On View: Funerary Gallery 2, Martha A. and Robert S. Rubin Gallery, 3rd Floor
This cartonnage illustrates the combination of Egyptian with Classical art in the Roman Period: the idealized portrait includes the hieroglyph for “protection” (a symbol of Isis) as well as a wreath (in the Greek or Roman style). The red symbol on the left shoulder, which can easily be mistaken for a swastika, is actually an ancient Greek symbol for holiness, while at the bottom, the boat of Sokar (a form of the Egyptian sun god) is flanked by jackals.

Mummy of an Anonymous Man was unwrapped in the 1950s and rewrapped in 2010 for this exhibition. Carbon-14 dating conducted in 2009 suggests that this man died between 259 and 398 c.e., confirming the third-century century date suggested by the style of the cartonnage.
MEDIUM Human remains, wood (Ficus sycomorus, sycomore fig), grass, linen, plaster, pigment
  • Place Excavated: Deir el Bahri, Egypt
  • DATES 3rd century C.E.
    PERIOD Roman Period
    DIMENSIONS a: cartonnage: 13 1/4 x 35 7/16 in. (33.7 x 90.0 cm) b: necklace: 34 1/4 in. (87 cm) c-d: sheets: 39 3/8 x 84 1/4 in. (100.0 x 214.0 cm) c-d: fringe: 6 1/8 in. (15.6 cm) e: approx. height through nose: 8 in. (20.3 cm) e: approx. width at shoulders: 20 in. (50.8 cm) e: approx. length: 62 in. (157.5 cm)  (show scale)
    ACCESSION NUMBER 52.128a-e
    CREDIT LINE Charles Edwin Wilbour Fund
    PROVENANCE Probably found in the ravine outside the temple wall of Hatshepsut, Deir el-Bahri, Egypt; 1928-1929, excavated by the Metropolitan Museum of Art, New York, NY; 1952, purchased from the Metropolitan Museum of Art by the Brooklyn Museum.
    Provenance FAQ
    CATALOGUE DESCRIPTION a) Cartonnage from the mummy of a man. Painted plaster on linen; made as an overlay on mummy from head to waist. Face bearded, hands clasp glass cup and fillet. At bottom, debased Sokaris bark flanked by jackals etc. Moulded wreath on forehead, brilliant colors. b) Necklace (apparently amuletic) removed from neck of mummy. Long, single stand of grass woven into rope with open end at front. This end closed with single strand on which are fastened segments of leaves, duplicated in three similar strands above. Attached to necklace at front center in plain wooden mason's square pierced three times. Condition: In general good but materials are very dry and fragile. Some leaves are broken. c-d) Pair of plain linen sheets, fringed ends, which formed the outer wrappings of the mummy. Fairly coarse weave. Perhaps household linen used for funerary purposes. Condition: Good. A few holes and stains. Fabric is flexible. The fringe is rather worn, suggesting that linen was long in use. e) Mummy. In 1956, the cartonnage and necklace were removed, and the mummy unwrapped. In 2010, the mummy was rewrapped and the cartonnage and necklace were reattached.
    CAPTION Cartonnage and Mummy of an Anonymous Man, 3rd century C.E. Human remains, wood (Ficus sycomorus, sycomore fig), grass, linen, plaster, pigment, a: cartonnage: 13 1/4 x 35 7/16 in. (33.7 x 90.0 cm). Brooklyn Museum, Charles Edwin Wilbour Fund, 52.128a-e. Creative Commons-BY (Photo: Brooklyn Museum, 52.128a_52.128e_PS2.jpg)
    IMAGE overall, a,e, 52.128a_52.128e_PS2.jpg. Brooklyn Museum photograph, 2010
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    RIGHTS STATEMENT Creative Commons-BY
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