11 1/2 in. x 9 1/4 in. x 10 1/2 in. (29.21 cm x 23.5 cm x 26.67 cm)
Ancient Mediterranean, Egypt
Medium and Support
stucco, glass, painted and gilded jewelry with remains of polychrome
Museum Purchase, Lloyd O. and Marjorie Strong Coulter Fund and the Helen Johnson Chase Fund
This female portrait was originally part of a panel that served as the lid of the sarcophagus. Fashioned from plaster, the details of the face, hair, and clothing were highlighted with paint, glass, and gilding. Though meant to decorate a sarcophagus, this head is not properly a mummy mask. Instead, following a Roman tradition, the portrait was positioned upright on the sarcophagus and could be viewed in the round. When complete, the sarcophagus represented the deceased as reclining on a couch with her head raised up as though supported by a pillow.
From the Alsdorf Collection, this 11 1/2 inch polychromed head wears a cloak over her shoulders, two necklaces and hoop earrings. Her austere face is characterized by a dimpled chin, straight nose and large heavy-lidded eyes inset with glass.
Help us make our collections more accessible by providing keywords to describe this artwork. The BCMA uses the
Getty Art & Architecture Thesaurus to
provide consistent keywords. Enter a keyword in the field below and you will be prompted with a list of possible matching AAT preferred terms.