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Relief of Mourning Women

These three mourners come from a relief, representing a funeral procession, that once decorated a tomb chapel. Holding the fringed top of her dress in one hand, each mourner beats her bared breast with the other. This standard gesture of mourning in ancient Egypt was accompanied by loud cries of grief, as indicated by the open mouth of the woman on the right. The three women's girlishly plump figures and the sweet expressions of the two on the left reflect the freshness and charm of Egyptian artistic style during the fourth century B.C. The delicately carved surface was once covered with paint, part of which has survived.


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