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Mummy and Portrait of Demetrios

Egyptian, Classical, Ancient Near Eastern Art

When the Romans ruled Egypt (30 B.C.E.–642 C.E.), some wealthy Greeks there were mummified. This mummy was made with expensive imported materials that show the wealth Demetrios commanded in life. It is wrapped in a linen shroud painted with red pigment made with lead imported from Spain. The mummy includes a Roman-style portrait of Demetrios painted on a wooden panel in the medium of encaustic, or wax plus pigment. (Compare it to the less costly portrait painted directly on Neferhotep’s shroud, nearby.) Artists added Egyptian divine symbols to the mummy shroud and the deceased’s name and age at death, recorded as fifty-nine years, all in gold leaf.

A recent CT scan (or three-dimensional X-ray) of this mummy reveals that the individual suffered from gallstones during his life.

[Text not currently in gallery]
MEDIUM Painted cloth, gold, human remains, wood, encaustic, gold leaf
  • Place Excavated: Hawara, Egypt
  • DATES 95-100 C.E.
    PERIOD Roman Period
    DIMENSIONS 13 3/8 x 15 3/8 x 74 13/16 in., 130 lb. (34 x 39 x 190 cm, 58.97kg) portrait: 14 11/16 x 8 1/16 x 1/16 in. (37.3 x 20.5 x 0.2 cm) Display: 19 x 28 x 86 1/4 in., 197.5 lb. (48.3 x 71.1 x 219.1 cm, 89.59kg) 18 3/8 x 14 x 76 in., 130 lb. (46.7 x 35.6 x 193 cm, 58.97kg)
    INSCRIPTIONS Demetris. 89 years.
    MUSEUM LOCATION This item is not on view
    CREDIT LINE Charles Edwin Wilbour Fund
    CATALOGUE DESCRIPTION Mummy of the Demetris enveloped in red painted cloth elaborately decorated with gilt figures.
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