Exhibitions: The Mummy Chamber

Cartonnage and Mummy of an Anonymous Man

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, when it was the subject of a TV show, 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 date suggested by the style of the cartonnage.