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Mummy Portrait of a Woman
Unknown 28.2 × 14.5 cm (11 1/8 × 5 11/16 in.) 79.AP.129
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Currently on view at: Getty Villa, Gallery 210, Roman Egypt
Mummy Portrait of a Woman
28.2 × 14.5 cm (11 1/8 × 5 11/16 in.)
Romano-Egyptian funerary portrait of a woman painted in tempera (pigments suspended in animal glue) on a cedar of Lebanon panel. Although not presenting a psychological depth comparable to the best encaustic portraits, this tempera product is notable for its bright, colorful presentation characterized by a bold linearity quickly executed. Tempera is a fast-drying medium typically applied in a variety of widths and lengths of brushstrokes, and is especially evident in the construction of the eyebrows, eyelashes, and tightly wound black curls of this Antonine lady (AD 98-117).
The shape of the face is composed of a series of arcs beginning at the hairline and continuing down to the mouth and double chin accented by a dimple. The lines on the neck beneath are termed “Venus rings,” and were often used on Roman portraits to communicate the vibrant sexuality associated with that goddess. The subject wears a pink tunic of red madder to indicate her ownership of an elite purple-dyed burial garment trimmed in red ochre. The customary clavi (woven stripes) were apparently painted quickly and somewhat haphazardly, affecting the visual movement of her slightly skewed torso with its sloped shoulders. Her jewelry is distinctive: at the center of her brow is a round hair ornament to which two beads have been attached. From these dangles what is likely intended to represent a quite large pearl. She wears gold hoop earrings of some thickness and elaboration. Her necklaces are typical for the ladies of these portraits: the larger is of an unidentified woven metal with a round gold pendant. The inner necklace is made of alternating pearls and semi-precious stones: emeralds would have been appropriate for this date and are often seen in these portraits. The thick panel is smaller relative to others and has one prominent transverse crack, but is otherwise in good condition. The two plugged dowel holes at the lower edge are of unknown function.
By proof of the triangular stamp on its reverse, this portrait once belonged to the collector and dealer Theodor Graf (1840-1903), and this suggests that it was very likely found at Er-Rubayat (from whence he sourced his collection). The distinctive style of certain features, such as the mouth, eyebrows, eyes, and Venus rings on the neck are very similar to a Portrait of a Man in Vienna, Kunsthistoriches Museum Inv. x432.
Theodor Graf, Austrian, Austrian, 1840 - 1903 (Vienna, Austria), sold to Alfred Emerson.
Before 1922 -
Private Collection [sold, Gemalde alter und neuer Meister : hellenistische Portrats aus dem Fayum, Miniaturen, Stiche, Skulpturen, Arbeiten in Silber und Gold. Dorotheum Kunstabteilung, Vienna, November 24, 1932, lot 33.]
- before 1933
Private Collection (New York, New York) [sold, American Furniture, Kende Galleries, New York, September 26, 1942, lot 167, to Joseph Brummer.]
1942 - 1947
Joseph Brummer, Hungarian, 1883 - 1947, by inheritance to his heirs, 1947.
1947 - 1949
Estate of Joseph Brummer, Hungarian, 1883 - 1947 [The notable art collection belonging to the estate of the late Joseph Brummer, Parke-Bernet Galleries, New York, May 11, 1949, lot 45.]
Ernest Brummer, Hungarian, 1891 - 1964 (New York, New York), by inheritance to his wife, Ella Brummer, 1964.
1964 - 1979
Ella Baché Brummer [sold, the Ernest Brummer Collection, Galerie Koller, Zurich, October 16-19, 1979, lot 4, to the J. Paul Getty Museum.]
Fayum Portraits: Painted Portraits from Roman Egypt (March 24, 1981 to 1997)
Buberl, Paul. Die griechisch-ägyptischen Mumienbildnisse der Sammlung Th. Graf. Vienna: 1922, p. 55, no. 46.
Dorotheum, Vienna. Sale cat., November 24, 1932, lot 33.
Drerup, Heinrich. Die Datierung der Mumienportraets. Paderborn: 1933, pp. 47-48, 66, no. 34 pl. 20 b.
Kende Galleries, New York. Sale cat., September 26, 1942, lot 167.
Parke-Bernet, New York. Sale cat., Joseph Brummer Coll., Part II, May 11-14, 1949, p. 10, lot 45.
Hahl, Lothar. "Zur Erklaerung der niedergermanischen Matronendenkmaeler," Bonner Jahrbucher 160 (1960), pp. 9-49, p. 20, no. 55.
Parlasca, Klaus. Mumienportraets und verwandte Denkmaeler. Wiesbaden: 1966, p. 75, n. 96.
Galerie Koller, Zurich. Sale cat., The Ernest Brummer Collection, October 16-19, 1979, p. 21, no. 4.
Parlasca, Klaus. Ritratti di Mummie. Repertorio d'arte dell'Egitto greco-romano (A. Adriani, ed). 2 ser. Vol. III. (Roma : "L'Erma" di Bretschneider, 1980), p. 60, no. 644 pl. 152.3.
Borg, Barbara. Mumienporträts: Chronologie und kultureller Kontext (Mainz: Ph. von Zabern, 1996), p. 47, 59, 87, 105, 168, 171, 192 pl. 74,2.
Maram, Eve. "Dialoguing with My Demon." Psychological Perspectives 59, no. 1 (2016), pp. 24, ill.
The Mystery of Lady Dai’s Preserved Mummy
Believe it or not, this grotesque figure is considered to be one of the world’s best preserved mummies.
While her face looks swollen and deformed, her skin is still soft to the touch, and there are no signs of rigor mortis anywhere—her arms and legs can still bend. Even her internal organs are intact and there is still blood in her veins. While other mummies tend to crumble at the slightest movement, the mummy of Lady Dai is so well-kept that doctors were able to perform an autopsy more than 2,100 years after her death. Not only were they able to reconstruct her death, but her life as well. They even determined her blood type—Type A. The autopsy of Lady Dai is arguably the most complete medical profile ever compiled on an ancient individual.
Lady Dai, or Xin Zhui, was the aristocratic wife of a Han Dynasty nobleman Li Cang. There was no doubt she lived an extravagant life—her tomb was filled with luxuries that only the wealthiest of her era could afford. These include hundreds of richly embroidered silk garments, skirts, dainty mittens, a silk sachet filled with various spices, flowers, and fragrant reeds, boxes of cosmetics, more than a hundred lacquer ware, musical instruments and statuettes of musicians, even prepared meals and more than a thousand other items.
“These objects show that Lady Dai lived a luxurious life, which she enjoyed very much,” says Willow Weilan Hai Chang, director of the China Institute Gallery in New York City, where some of the objects recovered from her tomb was displayed at an exhibition in 2009. “She wanted to maintain the same lifestyle in the afterlife.”
It was this good life she craved for that eventually robbed her of it. Reputedly a beauty in her younger days, Lady Dai indulged herself in every culinary delight (such as scorpion soup) until her diminutive frame buckled under obesity. Art on her funerary banner depicted her leaning on a cane. She might have been unable to walk without it because of her coronary thrombosis and arteriosclerosis that she acquired due to her sedentary lifestyle. She was also found to have—as her autopsy revealed—a fused disc in her spine that would have caused severe back pain and difficulty walking.
Artwork depicting Lady Dai and her attendants on her Funeral banner.
She had several internal parasites, most likely from eating undercooked food or from poor hygiene, suffered from clogged arteries, serious heart disease, osteoporosis and gallstones, one of which lodged in her bile duct and further deteriorated her condition.
Lady Dai died at the age of around fifty from a sudden heart attack, brought about by years of poor health. Her last meal consisted of melons.
Ironically, her tomb contains a stunning amount of information in the form of books and tablets on health, well-being, and longevity. On tablets inscribed with Chinese characters are recipes of various traditional Chinese medicine to treat headache, paralysis, asthma, sexual and other health problems.
Lady Dai’s tomb was found in 1971 at an archeological site named Mawangdui near the Chinese city of Changsha. She was found wrapped in twenty of layers of silk and laid to rest within a series of four nested coffins of decreasing sizes. To keep out air and water, her tomb was packed with charcoal and the top was sealed with several feet of clay. This water tight, air tight space effectively killed any bacteria that might have been inside and helped preserve the body. Archaeologists also found traces of mercury in her coffin, indicating that the toxic metal may have been used as an antibacterial agent. Her body was also found soaked in an unknown liquid that’s slightly acidic, which also prevented bacteria from growing. Some believe that the liquid is actually water from the body rather than some preserving liquid poured into her coffin.
The Lacquer coffin inside which Lady Dai’s remains were found. Photo credit: Wikimedia
How exactly Lady Dai’s body fought decomposition is a mystery, since many bodies buried in similar airtight and watertight environments failed to preserve.
The excavation at Mawangdui and the bodies of Lady Dai, as well as that of her husband and son, is considered one of the major archaeological discoveries of the 20th century. From the construction of the tombs and from the various funerary artifacts archeologists were able to piece together how the aristocrats lived during the Hun period. From the various meals buried inside the tomb, and even from the contents of Lady Dai’s stomach, archeologists were able to reconstruct a surprisingly detailed history of Western Han dynasty’s “diet, agricultural practices, hunting methods, domestication of animals, food production and preparation, recipe cultivation, and insight at a structural level into the development of one of the world’s great and enduring cuisines.”
The body of Lady Dai now rests in the Hunan Provincial Museum, where she can still be visited.
A wax figure of Lady Dai depicting how she might have looked when younger and healthier. Photo credit: Huangdan2060/Wikimedia
Herakleides: A Portrait Mummy from Roman Egypt
Herakleides: a Portrait Mummy from Roman Egypt not only provides the results of a series of scientific analyses, but also those of a comprehensive classical, Egyptological and art historical, study undertaken on the Herakleides portrait mummy. Consequently, it serves as an extremely informative and useful case study with regard to funerary practice in Egypt during the Roman period.
The Herakleides portrait mummy was first acquired by the J. Paul Getty Museum in 1991, and was subject to a full study by the Museum’s Antiquities Conservation Department in 2003, before finally being exhibited for the first time at the Getty Villa in 2006. The questions raised by the study were numerous and comprehensive: whether the portrait attached to the mummy represented the mummified individual the precise state of preservation of the body inside the wrappings whether there were any inclusions such as jewels or amulets within the wrappings what materials had been used in the mummification and subsequent adornment process and whether a precise date could be attached to the mummy and the portrait respectively. Additionally, in 2006 the Herakleides portrait mummy was included as part of the “Getty Red-Shroud Study Group”, a project which aimed to determine whether similar materials were used to manufacture nine red-shroud mummies. It would appear, based on the information presented here, that both studies were resounding successes, and have added immeasurably to our knowledge not only of mummy portraits, but also of portrait mummies, beliefs about the afterlife, funerary practice and the mechanics of the mummification process in Egypt during the Roman period.
The introduction offers an overview of the provenance of the Herakleides portrait mummy and some background detail on the other artefacts from Roman Egypt contained in the J. Paul Getty Museum. There is also a brief history of mummification, and a summary of the Getty Museum’s recent forays into research in this field, namely the red-shroud study and the 2006 symposium ‘Exploring Romano-Egyptian Mummies’.
The remainder of the book takes a systematic approach to the Herakleides portrait mummy and examines different aspects of it in a series of short sections. The first section, ‘Mummy Portraits and Portrait Mummies’, offers a potted history of the public and academic fascination with mummy portraits and portrait mummies from their first appearance in Europe in the seventeenth century, as well as explanations of the different types of portraits and mummies produced over time, all of which is relevant to the subsequent discussion of the Herakleides portrait mummy in its historical, cultural and religious context in section seven.
The second section, ‘Description of the Mummy of Herakleides’, offers an extremely detailed description of the mummy shroud, incorporating discussion of the motifs and text painted onto the shroud and revealing for the first time that, in addition to the name of the deceased, the name of his father or, more likely, his mother is painted onto the shroud too: ‘Herakleides, son of Therm[os]’ or, more likely, ‘Herakleides, son of [the lady] Thermou[this] / Thermou[tharion]’ (p. 29). This text was written in a literary hand with orthography typical of Greek writing in Egypt during the first century AD. Corcoran and Svoboda suggest that the text’s positioning on the feet of the mummy indicates that it was intended to be read by Herakleides, perhaps to remind him of his name in the afterlife. They also note that the similarities between the iconography of this mummy shroud and other examples excavated from el-Hibeh by Bernard Grenfell and Arthur Hunt in 1903 indicate that the Herakleides portrait mummy could have originated from the same cemetery.
The third section, ‘The Portrait of Herakleides’, turns its attention to the mummy portrait. As in the previous section, a detailed description is provided, both of the portrait itself and of additional features such as the gilding around the portrait and the addition of a gilt crown. Comparisons are drawn between this particular crown and examples on other mummy portraits and suggestions are made as to their possible religious significance such as involvement in the cults of Sarapis and Isis. This is followed by a discussion of portrait technology, encompassing encaustic and tempera techniques, how accurate such portraits might have been, the extent to which portraits can be accurately dated according to style, and the materials out of which they were made. Analyses revealed the Herakleides mummy portrait was executed in wax-tempera (tempera containing beeswax) on imported lime wood.
The fourth section, ‘Physical Properties Analyses’, details the scientific techniques used on the Herakleides portrait mummy materials, namely the red, white, blue, green and black pigments used to colour the shroud, the gold leaf used on the portrait and the shroud, and the resins and textiles of the mummy. Analyses reveal that the red lead pigment used to colour the shroud originated from the Roman silver-mining site of Rio Tinto in southwest Spain, while the blue pigment was vergaut—a combination of indigo and orpiment—the earliest use of which was previously thought to have been on the illuminated manuscript of the ninth century AD Book of Kells. The resin was found to contain conifer resin, beeswax and cedar oil, while the textiles consisted of a range of different linen weaves.
The fifth section, ‘Imaging Herakleides’, details the imaging techniques used on the mummy to enable the examination of the interior without any destruction. Each technique used is briefly explained for the benefit of readers without a scientific background. It is this section that provides the majority of the new information about the Herakleides portrait mummy: examination of the images of Herakleides’ bones and teeth revealed that he was aged around twenty when he died, corresponding with the youthful man depicted in the mummy portrait he was around 5ft 6in tall, above average height for an individual in this period there was a packet containing five small objects—perhaps amulets—included in his wrappings and, most intriguing of all, a mummified ibis was placed on his stomach, directly below the spot where an ibis motif was painted onto the outer layer of the shroud. The Herakleides portrait mummy was thus revealed to be the first human mummy found to contain a mummified animal within its wrappings. Corcoran and Svoboda note that the ibis was sacred to Thoth, the god of wisdom, writing and scholarship, and suggest that Herakleides was a devotee or perhaps even a priest or a scribe.
The sixth section, ‘Dating the Mummy of Herakleides’, briefly gives the results of the radiocarbon dating of wax, resin and linen from the mummy wrappings as AD 5-127, consistent with the writing on the shroud but not necessarily consistent with the mid-second-century AD date suggested for the portrait mummy and other, similarly decorated red-shroud mummies. However, Corcoran and Svoboda offer a plausible explanation for this discrepancy—that the textiles used for the wrappings were retained or reused.
The seventh section, ‘Herakleides and Romano-Egyptian Mummies’, is the lengthiest, integrating the results from the study of the Herakleides portrait mummy with the results of the Red-Shroud Study in an attempt to place the former into an historical, cultural and religious context. Throughout this section emphasis is placed upon the maintenance of tradition and continuity with Pharaonic practice, particularly in the iconography of the red-shroud portrait mummies and the variety of ways in which the specific elements chosen can be read and interpreted, but also in the practice of colouring the shrouds entirely in red pigment, and the use of gilding.
An appendix contributed by Marc Walton, based on a previously published article, details the findings from analysis of the red lead pigment taken from the Herakleides portrait mummyand from six other red-shroud mummies. 1 The strong compositional similarities between the seven samples indicated that they all originated from Rio Tinto in southwest Spain, leading Walton to suggest that the seven red-shroud mummies may have been prepared in the same workshop.
Considering its comparatively low price, Herakleides: a Portrait Mummy from Roman Egypt is a publication of extremely high quality. The book is beautifully illustrated, including a map of Egypt, a timeline, high quality colour photographs and line drawings of the Herakleides portrait mummy and a range of other specimens, the results of numerous scientific imaging techniques, and well laid out charts and tables. In their conclusion, Corcoran and Svoboda state ‘[we] are from two different professional worlds but have combined [our] expertise to produce a study that melds empirical evidence obtained through the latest scientific analytical methods with a reconstruction of the past made possible through art/historical interpretation’ (p. 93). They have certainly succeeded in this excellent case study which will be of use to both art and ancient historians, and scientists alike. It is suitable for interested amateurs, undergraduates, postgraduates and academics. Let us hope that in the future, other portrait mummies and mummy portraits are subjected to similar levels of scrutiny and that the further research identified as necessary by Corcoran and Svoboda—the identification of the location of specific workshops for the production of portrait mummies and mummy portraits, and the phenomenon of including mummified birds and animals in the wrappings of mummified humans—is undertaken.
1. Marc S. Warren and Karen Trentelman (2009) ‘Roman-Egyptian Red Lead Pigment: a Subsidiary Commodity of Spanish Silver Mining and Refinement’ Archaeometry 51.5: 845-60.
Once at Mia: A mummy and her secrets
Lady Tashat had roommates at first, fellow mummies, perhaps three or five altogether. They almost certainly didn’t know each other in life, but in death they were inseparable.
In the late 1800s, mummies, statues, and other ancient objects were flowing out of Egyptian digs to Europe and America, to museums and millionaires. The director of the School of Egyptology, in Cairo, a charismatic German who went by the honorific Brugsch Pasha, diverted nearly a thousand of the unearthed finds to Anthony Drexel, Jr., the playboy grandson of the famous Philadelphia financier—a shipment of nearly 4.5 tons. A few years later, in 1895, Drexel gave the collection to his father’s namesake university, which never knew what to do with it. They were pleased when, some two decades years later, an upstart Midwestern museum offered $5,000 for 701 of the objects.
An early photo of Lady Tashat’s cartonnage and coffin at Mia in 1916.
It was among the largest collections of Egyptian art in the country. The crates arrived in Minneapolis in 1916, when the museum was just over a year old, and went on display that November. The Egyptian room quickly became the most intriguing part of the museum. “…A collection which includes a funerary scroll of great antiquity, many charming little statues, two or three distinct portrait statues, jewelry, scarabs, models of work implements, and the mummy case of the Lady Ta-Chat, with a most fascinating portrait-mask, painted in the most vivacious and Egyptian colors,” raved the American Art Annual, a broad survey of the year in art, in 1917.
By the time these Minneapolis high-school students visited, in the 1960s, most of the collection was gone. Richard Davis, director of Mia for a few years in the 1950s, had managed to sell much of it, along with thousands of other antiquities, in order to purchase more modern art. By the time he was compelled to resign in 1959, there were just a handful of Drexel pieces left.
The lower part of a coffin, part of the Drexel collection purchased by Mia in 1916.
Lady Tashat’s companions were gone. Or so it appeared. She had been hiding another all along. Drexel had no idea. But in 1923, Mia became curious to know if there was indeed a mummy in the Lady’s coffin. Alan Burroughs, the young and enterprising son of the curator of paintings at the Metropolitan Museum of Art, was working as an assistant curator at Mia at the time, and took it upon himself to scan the coffin with X-rays. Not only did he find a mummy inside, he found her bones to be badly battered—and an extra skull, stuffed between her legs.
Burroughs left Mia a few years later and become the foremost practitioner of X-ray art investigation, revealing forgeries and masterpieces alike. Lady Tashat has since been CT-scanned, poked, and prodded, and none of her mysteries have been given up. She has also regained some company: In 1983, when she was first CT-scanned, two more mummies—now tucked away in storage—were added to the collection, making three or four altogether, depending on how you count.
Aline und ihre Kinder Mumien aus dem römerzeitlichen Ägypten. Ägypten im Blick, 2
In the late 19 th to early 20 th century, William M.F. Petrie introduced the western public to the Roman mummy portraits from Hawara in the Egyptian Fayum. The publications of his excavations and exhibitions 1 aroused a fascination for mummy portraits, which, often after removal from their mummies, became preferred items in private collections and museums. Based on the first finds in the Fayum, the portraits became known as ‘Fayum portraits’, although portrait mummies were later also discovered outside this area. The interest in Roman mummy portraits and to a smaller extent also in masks underwent a revival in the late 1990s, when several studies and exhibitions were dedicated to the topic, now paying specific attention to the archaeological, religious-ideological and cultural context of the portraits. 2
While Petrie became famous as the discoverer of the Hawara portraits, it is not widely known that he did not excavate all mummies with portraits and masks known from this site. For instance, the mummies discussed in Aline und ihre Kinder were found by Richard von Kaufmann in 1892 and then brought to Berlin. Aline and her children were re-investigated in January 2016 as part of an interdisciplinary study of all human mummies in the Ägyptisches Museum und Papyrussammlung at Berlin, as Jana Helmbold-Doyé explains in the preface of her new book.
The rest of this small book is composed of nine sections of various length, some written by or in collaboration with other scholars, followed by appendices. The appendices include a selective bibliography with mainly publications in German, a table listing the grave finds, an overview of the museum history of the ensemble, a map of Egypt and information on the three contributors.
Helmbold-Doyé wrote the first three, brief sections. The first section is dedicated to Richard von Kaufmann, the discoverer of Aline’s tomb. Von Kaufmann (1849-1908) was an important private art collector who sponsored several excavation projects. Inspired by Petrie’s successful excavations at Hawara, he himself went out into the field in 1892. The second section discusses the problem of locating Aline’s tomb, which is difficult because von Kaufmann’s only description of the grave is found in one of his published lectures. The tomb was apparently a roofed mudbrick construction, which possibly had an above-ground structure or cultic area. Parallels of this type of tomb, which resembled contemporaneous houses, 3 are known from Tuna el-Gebel in Middle Egypt (a reference to image 15 is missing). In the third section, Helmbold-Doyé describes the acquisition of the Aline finds by the Berlin Museum. In the summer of 1892 von Kaufmann offered the Egyptian Department 45 objects for the price of 14,400 marks. In October, 1892 the museum additionally obtained a masked child mummy from Aline’s grave from Dr. Seidel from Braunschweig, who had joined von Kaufmann at Hawara, in exchange for 26 Egyptian objects from its collections.
The fourth section starts with general information about the find context of the mummies and their technical characteristics (Helmbold-Doyé). The tomb contained (at least) eight mummies, buried in three horizontal layers. Nothing is known about the three plain mummies located at the highest level, which covered the masked mummies of a man (Aline’s ‘husband’) and a girl. Aline’s portrait mummy and those of two children were buried at the lowest level. The mummies with masks and portraits had rhombic wrappings in the case of the two children’s mummies, the portraits were additionally decorated with gilded stucco buttons. The a tempera portraits of these children and that of Aline were directly painted on the mummy wrappings and thus applied after death. All mummies combined Egyptian (e.g. gilded wreaths) and Greek elements (e.g. rose wreaths wax seals with Greek iconography).
More detailed analysis of the individual family-members follows. Helmbold-Doyé first focuses on Aline. Although only her portrait has been preserved, old descriptions attest that her mummy had rhombic wrappings with gilded stucco buttons and that her portrait was, exceptionally, covered with an extra cloth. Aline’s skull was investigated by Rudolf Virchow after it was separated from her body. He looked for similarities between portrait and skull. The identification of the woman as Aline, alias Tenôs, daughter of Herodes, and her age at death, 35, are known thanks to a Greek funerary stele that was placed next to the mummy’s head, as is briefly discussed by Jan Moje. Helmbold-Doyé then describes the mummy mask of the anonymous man (Aline’s ‘husband’), which was removed from its mummy at Hawara. His seal ring and the expensive finishing of the mask identify him as a member of the local elite. Interestingly, at the top of his head, his toga ends in a painted cloth showing lotus flowers and geometric motifs, for which no parallels are known. Consequently, this part of the mask may be the result of a restoration in the early 1950s. Abb. 40 (p. 32) shows the striking differences between the mask’s situation before and after its restoration.
Although the fourth section starts with general information on all mummies from the grave and the chapter’s title also refers to the dead in general, Aline’s children are (a bit inconsequently) discussed in a separate, fifth chapter. Alexander Huppertz’ contribution on the preliminary CT results of the three children’s mummies in this section forms the most original and substantial part of the book. The most important new data, including information on the sex and age of the children, the dimensions of their mummies, and the development of their teeth and bones, are presented in a useful table on p. 33 and further discussed in the text, accompanied by detailed images. The children, two girls and (presumably) one boy, were between 2 and 7 years old and smaller than children of the same age group nowadays. Interestingly, all three mummies show bends and fractures in the cervical and/or thoracic spine due to post mortem manipulation.
Thanks to these new results, the ‘exterior’ aspects of the children’s mummies can be confronted with their ‘content’. Helmbold- Doyé points out that the mask mummy of the oldest child represents a young woman, whereas the body belongs to a girl at most 7 years old. The extremely rich mummy combines ‘Graeco-Roman’ (clothes, hairstyle and jewelry) with Egyptian features (goddess Nut on the top and back of the mask shroud with funerary scenes foot cartonnage). The two younger children had portraits representing girls that were directly painted on the mummy wrappings. Although the gender of the youngest portrait has been frequently questioned in the past, criteria such as the lunula -shaped hanger, generally reserved for females, and the ‘female’ lilac color of the child’s dress, have generally been used to identify the portrait as a girl. This identification is contradicted now by the new CT investigation.
The focus then shifts to the other finds from the tomb. In the extremely brief sixth section, Helmbold-Doyé presents the grave- goods that accompanied the mummies, including flower wreaths and a 1 st – or 2 nd -century cooking pot. The most important find, however, is the above-mentioned Greek funerary stele. In the seventh section, Jan Moje compares Aline’s stele with other 2 nd century AD stelae from Hawara, which typically included the dead’s name, his/her age at death and sometimes a greeting formula, epithet or profession. In the eighth section, Moje’s attention goes to the broader historical and socio-cultural context of the stele. As was typical for Roman Egypt, Aline – Tenôs had a double, Greek-Egyptian name. 4 The exact date of the stele and Aline’s death remains problematic and is generally placed either in the reign of Tiberius (31 July 24 AD) or in that of Trajan (31 July 107 AD). Although the inscription does not reveal information about Aline’s social position, her mummy suggests un upper-class status, while the co-occurrence of Greek and Egyptian elements presents the family as mixed Graeco- Roman/Egyptian. Interestingly, the stele of Aline was placed in the grave, which suggests that the visible identification of the dead was not a major concern.
In the ninth, concluding section, Jana Helmbold-Doyé and Jan Moye synthesize the discussion about the dating of Aline’s grave, which will remain open until future scientific analysis offers a conclusive dating. If the 1 st century date is correct, Aline’s portrait is one of the earliest datable mummy portraits known thus far. However, based on stylistic and technical aspects, as well as the post-mortem fractures and the changing position of the mummy heads, possibly in relation to changes in the Osiris belief, an early 2 nd century AD cannot be excluded. Apart from this, the authors conclude that, with its combination of portrait and masked mummies, Aline’s tomb is rather exceptional (though not the only example) and that the luxurious treatment of the mummies identifies the family as upper-class members of Roman Egypt.
In general, Aline und ihre Kinder is a nicely presented and easily readable book, illustrating the importance of continuously integrating new techniques in archaeological research. The inserted archival material as well as the numerous photographs make it a visually attractive publication. However, the book’s strong introductory character and the lack of references in the text clearly show that it is intended more for the broader public than for specialist scholars.
The topics touched upon remain mostly very general and frequently deserve a more elaborate discussion. Due to its rather descriptive approach, the book does not address certain questions that inevitably come to a reader’s mind, such as whether all mummies in the grave can be automatically considered family members, whether (some of) the dead died at the same time and what may have been the criteria behind the choice of a masked, portrait or plain mummy. Therefore, a more comparative approach, placing Aline and her family in a broader geographical, chronological, and cultural framework than is the case now, and against the background of recent research at Hawara, the Fayum and Roman Egypt in general would have increased the scholarly character of the publication. Similarly, a more extensive exploration of Richard von Kaufmann and 19 th -century archaeological and museological practices could have been valuable.
Despite this, Aline und ihre Kinder forms an important contribution to current research on mummies and the history of Roman Hawara, bringing the less well-known Graeco-Roman/Egyptian population of Roman Egypt to a wide readership.
Table of Contents
Vorwort, Jana Helmbold-Doyé (5–6)
1. Richard von Kaufmann und die Entdeckung des Grabes, Jana Helmbold-Doyé (8–15)
2. Das Grab, Jana Helmbold-Doyé (16–18)
3. Die Grabfunde und das Museum, Jana Helmbold-Doyé (19)
4. Die Verstorbenen, Jana Helmbold-Doyé (20–24)
4.1. Eine Frau namens Aline?, Jana Helmbold-Doyé (25–28)
4.1.1 Die Grabstele der Aline, Jan Moje (28–29)
4.2 Ein namentlich unbekannter Mann, Jana Helmbold-Doyé (29–32)
5. Die Kindermumien, Alexander Huppertz (33–38)
5.1 Das Mädchen mit der Mumienmaske, Jana Helmbold-Doyé (38–50)
5.1.1 Die Mumienhülle, Jana Helmbold-Doyé (38–39)
5.1.2 Die Mumienmaske, Jana Helmbold-Doyé (39–41)
5.1.3 Das Mumientuch, Jana Helmbold-Doyé (42–45)
5.1.4 Der Mumienschuh, Jana Helmbold-Doyé (47–50)
5.2 Das Mädchen mit dem Mumienporträt, Jana Helmbold-Doyé (50)
5.3 Junge oder Mädchen?, Jana Helmbold-Doyé (50–51)
6. Die Beigaben, Jana Helmbold-Doyé (52)
7. Der Grabstein der Aline im Vergleich mit anderen Stelen, Jan Moje (53–54)
8. Der historisch-soziokulturelle Kontext der Aline-Stele, Jan Moje (55–59)
9. Zeitliche Einordnung und Bedeutung des Grabes, Jana Helmbold-Doyé and Jan Moje (60–61)
1. W.M.F. Petrie, Hawara, Biahmu, and Arsinoe (London, 1889) W.M.F. Petrie, Kahun, Gurob, and Hawara (London, 1890) W.M.F. Petrie, Roman portraits and Memphis (IV) (London, 1911).
2. E.g. L.H. Corcoran, Portrait Mummies from Roman Egypt (I-IV Centuries A.D.) with a Catalog of Portrait Mummies in Egyptian Museums (Michigan, 1995) B. Borg, Mumienporträts: Chronologie und kultureller Kontext (Mainz, 1996) S.E.C. Walker and M.L. Bierbrier, Portraits and Masks: Burial Customs in Roman Egypt (London, 1997) K. Parlasca and H. Seemann, Augenblicke. Mumienporträts und ägyptische Grabkunst aus römischer Zeit (München, 1999).
3. Similarities between Ptolemaic-Roman tombs and houses at Hawara are attested by material remains, as well as by the Demotic-Greek ‘Hawara Undertakers Archives’. See I. Uytterhoeven, Hawara in the Graeco-Roman Period. Life and Death in a Fayum Village (Leuven, 2009).
4. Double names have been collected as part of the Leuven Trismegistos Project (W. Clarysse and M. Depauw). See Y. Broux, Double names in Roman Egypt: A Prosopography (Leuven 2014) ( Trismegistos Online Publications).
11-15 Mummy Facts
11. During Roman times, Egyptian mummies were sometimes accompanied with a realist portrait of the dead painted on wooden boards. About 900 of these portraits are known to exist. – Source
12. 2,000 – 5,000-year-old mummies have been found in China that were exclusively Caucasoid, or Europoid. – Source
13. The oldest known tattoos were discovered, using UV light, on a 5,000-year-old mummy. – Source
14. Scientists diagnosed a 2250-year old Egyptian mummy with metastatic prostate cancer. – Source
15. One of the hikers who found “Ötzi,” a 5000-year-old mummy buried in ice in the Alps, was found dead, buried in ice, after a hiking accident in 2004. He is one of 7 people linked to the mummy to have died within the same year. – Source
The Mummies of Guanajuato, Mexico have a sad history that dates back to a cholera outbreak in 1833
The Mummies of Guanajuato are a number of naturally mummified bodies interred during a cholera outbreak around Guanajuato, Mexico in 1833. The mummies were discovered in a cemetery in Guanajuato, making the city one of the biggest tourist attractions in Mexico.
The bodies appear to have been disinterred between 1865 and 1958. During that time, a local tax was imposed requiring relatives to pay a fee to keep their relatives interred. If the relatives were unable or unwilling to pay the tax, the bodies were disinterred. Ninety percent of the remains were disinterred because their relatives did not pay the tax. Of these, only two percent had been naturally mummified. The mummified bodies were stored in a building and in the 1900s began attracting tourists. Cemetery workers began charging people a few pesos to enter the building where bones and mummies were stored. This place was turned into a museum called El Museo De Las Momias (“The Mummies’ Museum”). A law prohibiting disinterring was passed in 1958, but this museum still exhibits the original mummies.
Hand of Guanajuato mummy. Due to weather and soil conditions, bodies tend to dehydrate and mummify in the city of Guanajuato, Mexico. Unclaimed bodies often end up for public exhibit. .Source
Due to the demands of the epidemic, more cemeteries had to be opened in San Cayetano and Cañada de Marfil. Many of the bodies were buried immediately to control the spread of the disease. It is thought that in some cases, the dying may have been buried alive by accident, resulting horrific facial expressions. however, perceived facial expressions are most often the result of postmortem processes. One of the mummies who was buried alive was Ignacia Aguilar. She suffered from a strange sickness that made her heart appear to stop on several occasions. During one of these incidents, her heart appeared to stop for more than a day. Thinking she had died, her relatives decided to bury her. When her body was disinterred, it was noticed that she was facing down, biting her arm, and that there was a lot of blood in her mouth.
The first mummy was put on display in 1865. It was the body of Dr. Remigio Leroy. The museum, containing at least 108 corpses, is located above the spot where the mummies were first discovered. Numerous mummies can be seen throughout the exhibition, of varying sizes. The museum is known to have the smallest mummy in the world, a fetus from a pregnant woman who fell victim to cholera. Some of the mummies can be seen wearing parts of the clothing in which they were buried.
The mummies of Guanajuato have been a notable part of Mexican popular culture, echoing the national holiday “The Day of the Dead” (El Dia de los Muertos).
This is a photo of a monument in Mexico, identified by ID Museo de las momias de Gu.Source
Author Ray Bradbury visited the catacombs of Guanajuato with his friend Grant Beach and wrote the short story “The Next in Line” about his experience. In the introduction to The Stories of Ray Bradbury, he wrote the following: “The experience so wounded and terrified me, I could hardly wait to flee Mexico. I had nightmares about dying and having to remain in the halls of the dead with those propped and wired bodies. In order to purge my terror, instantly, I wrote ‘The Next in Line.’ One of the few times that an experience yielded results almost on the spot.”
In the late 1970s, filmmaker Werner Herzog took footage of a number of the mummies for the title sequence of his film Nosferatu the Vampyre in order to conjure a morbid, eerie atmospheric opening sequence.
The Portrait of a Lady Extra Questions and Answers Short Answer Type
What generated the interest of the world in King Tut?
King Tut was just a teenager when he died. He was the last heir of a powerful family that had ruled Egypt and its empire for centuries. Since the discovery of his tomb in 1922, the modem world wondered about what happened to him and wondered if he could have been murdered.
How did nature seem to echo the unnatural happening?
As King Tut was taken from his resting place in the ancient Egyptian cemetery, dark-bellied clouds that had scudded across the desert sky all day, veiled the stars in grey. It seemed that the wind was angry and had roused the dust devils.
Why did the tourists throng to see Tut’s tomb? What was their reaction?
The tourists came to pay their respects to King Tut. They admired the murals and Tut’s gilded face on his mummy-shaped outer coffin. They read from the guidebooks in whisper, or stood silently, pondering over Tut’s untimely death, dreading, lest the pharaoh’s curse befall those who disturbed him.
Who was Howard Carter? What did he find?
Howard Carter was the British archaeologist who in 1922 discovered Tut’s tomb after years of unsuccessful search. He discovered the richest royal collection ever found that included stunning artifacts in gold that caused a sensation.
Tut was buried in March-April. How did Carter conclude this?
On opening a coffin, Carter found a shroud decorated with garlands of willow and olive leaves, wild celery, lotus petals and cornflowers. Since these flowers grow in March or April, Carter concluded that the burial was in these months.
“When he finally reached the mummy, though, he ran into trouble.” Why was it so?
When Carter tried to raise the mummy out of the coffin, he could not. The ritual resins had hardened, cementing Tut’s body to the bottom of his solid gold coffin. No amount of force could pull it out.
How did he decide to detach the mummy? Why?
First Carter tried to loosen the resins with the heat of the sun. For several hours, he put the mummy outside in blazing sunshine that heated it to 149 degrees Fahrenheit but it was in vain. Then he decided to carve it out from beneath the limbs and trunk as there was no other way of raising the king’s remains.
What were the treasures found in the coffin? Why were they put there?
King Tut’s coffin contained precious collars, inlaid necklaces and bracelets, rings, amulets, a ceremonial apron, sandals, sheaths for his fingers and toes, and his inner coffin and mask, all of which were made of pure gold. The royals, in King Tut’s time, hoped to take their riches along with them for their next life.
How has the viewpoint of archaeologists changed with the passage of time?
The archaeologists, earlier, focussed on the treasures that the tomb would yield. The centre of attention, now, is more on the fascinating details of life and intriguing mysteries of death. Moreover, now they use more sophisticated tools, including medical technology.
What was the interesting fact about Tut that was brought to light in the late sixties?
In 1968, more than forty years after Carter’s discovery, an anatomy professor X-rayed the mummy and revealed a startling fact: beneath the resin that caked his chest, his breast-bone and front ribs were missing.
Why was King Tut’s death a big event?
King Tut’s demise was a big event as he was the last of his lineage and his funeral sounded the death rattle of a dynasty. Moreover, he died at the very young age of about eighteen.
What is known about Tut’s predecessor Amenhotep IV?
Amenhotep IV, during his reign, promoted the worship of the Aten, the sun disk, and changed his own name to Akhenaten, or ‘servant of the Aten’, and moved the religious capital to the new city of Akhetaten. He outraged the country by attacking Amun, a major god, smashing his images and closing his temples.
What made a guard remark, ‘curse of the pharaoh’?
When Tut’s body was taken out to be scanned and the million-dollar scanner had stopped functioning because of sand in a cooler fan, the guard jokingly remarked that the king had expressed his annoyance at being disturbed.
With King Tut was being finally laid to rest, nature was at rest too. Explain.
When King Tut was finally laid to rest, the wind stopped blowing and was still, like death itself. Orion, the constellation that the ancient Egyptians knew as the soul of Osiris, the god of the afterlife, was sparkling. It seemed to be watching over the boy king.
Discovering Tut: The Saga Continues Extra Questions and Answers Long Answer Type
Nature echoed the unnatural happenings with King Tut’s body. Comment.
To set to rest the modem world’s speculation about King Tut, the body was taken out of its resting place some 3,300 years later. He was required to undergo a CT scan to generate precise data for an accurate forensic reconstruction. As the body was taken out, raging wind began to blow which seemed to arouse the eerie devils of dust. Dark clouds gathered and appeared to shroud the stars in a grey-coloured coffin. When the body was put down for scan, the million-dollar scanner seemed to keep from functioning.
There was sand in a cooler fan. It was when he was finally laid to rest, that the winter air lay cold and still, like death itself, in this valley of the departed. Just above the entrance to Tut’s tomb stood Orion the constellation that the ancient Egyptians knew as the soul of Osiris, the god of the afterlife, supervising the young pharaoh returning to his rightful place.
“The mummy is in a very bad condition because of what Carter did in the 1920s.” What did Carter do and why?
Howard Carter was the British archaeologist who in 1922 discovered Tut’s tomb. He searched its contents in haste. The tomb, which had stunning artefacts in gold, caused a sensation at the time of the discovery.
After months of carefully recording the treasures in the pharaoh’s coffin, Carter began investigating the three nested coffins. When he finally reached the mummy, he found that the ritual resins had hardened. Thus, Tut’s body was cemented to the bottom of his solid gold coffin. Carter set the mummy outside in blazing sun that heated it up to 149 degrees Fahrenheit, to no avail.
To prevent the thieves from ransacking, he chiselled the body free. To separate Tut from his embellishments, Carter’s men removed the mummy’s head and severed nearly every major joint.
Describe the changing attitudes of the archaeologists over a span of time.
Archaeology has changed substantially in the intervening decades. It now focusses less on treasure and more on the interesting details of life and the intriguing mysteries of death. It also uses more sophisticated tools, including medical technology. In 1968, more than forty years after Carter’s discovery, an anatomy professor X-rayed the mummy and revealed a startling fact: beneath the resin that cakes King Titu’s chest, his breast bone and front ribs were missing.
Today, diagnostic imaging can be done with computed tomography, or CT, by which hundreds of X-rays in cross section are put together like slices of bread to create a three dimensional virtual body. It can even answer questions such as how a person died, and how old he was at the time of his death.
What are the facts that are known about King Tut’s lineage?
Amenhotep III, Tut’s father or grandfather, was a powerful pharaoh who ruled for almost four decades at the height of the eighteenth dynasty’s golden age. His son Amenhotep IV succeeded him and initiated one of the strangest periods in the history of ancient Egypt. The new pharaoh promoted the worship of the Aten, the sun disk, changed his name to Akhenaten, or ‘servant of the Aten’, and moved the religious capital
from the old city of Thebes to the new city of Akhetaten, now known as Amama. He further shocked the country by attacking Amun, a major god, smashing his images and closing his temples. After Akhenaten’s death, a mysterious ruler named Smenkhkare appeared briefly and exited with hardly a trace. A very young Tutankhaten took the throne as the king, thereafter.
Mummies will be open to the public from Monday, March 20, 2017, to January 7, 2018. Museum Members will be able to preview the exhibition on Friday, March 17, Saturday, March 18, and Sunday, March 19.
The exhibition is co-curated at the American Museum of Natural History by David Hurst Thomas, Curator of North American Archaeology in the Division of Anthropology, and John J. Flynn, Frick Curator of Fossil Mammals in the Division of Paleontology.
Mummies was developed by The Field Museum, Chicago.
The American Museum of Natural History gratefully acknowledges the Richard and Karen LeFrak Exhibition and Education Fund.
Mummies is proudly supported by Chase Private Client.