Head and Chest From a Sarcophagus
Egyptian, Classical, Ancient Near Eastern Art
These mummy covers represent the extremes of wealth and poverty in Roman Egypt. The professionally crafted, gilded, and inlaid mummy cartonnage represents a woman whose life and death were spent in luxury. In contrast, the hand-modeled and naively painted terracotta mask was perhaps fashioned by the deceased herself or a family member. Though both covers protected the mummy adequately, the materials used demonstrate how poorer members of society could also provide, inexpensively, the objects necessary to reach the next world.
4th century C.E.
17 1/2 x 17 1/2 x 4 1/2 in. (44.5 x 44.5 x 11.4 cm) (show scale)
Charles Edwin Wilbour Fund
Painted terracotta face and chest from the lid of a sarcophagus. The face and ears are modeled free hand in raised relief with the eyes and the brows painted black. The entire lid is covered with a white slip, now somewhat grayish with age, which has been painted to indicate the various attributes of the deceased. The deceased wears a long black wig which comes to the shoulders. A “chin strap” is made of black outlined paint within which are painted panels of red, black, and pea-green paint. The neck opening of the costume is indicated by two bands of decoration. At the top is one of the diagonal lines in black; the bottom contains alternating floral motifs, very abstracted, in red and black. A broad collar of four strands completes the decoration. The top most strand is a pattern of x’s in black. Lower down, the second strand contains alternating red and black strokes and the lowest one is of alternating floral motifs of black and red. The object is in fragile condition with areas throughout of paint/ground lifting from the terracotta. Some of the paint is flaking away. There is a repair across the chest and some inpainting but the bulk of the polychrome is original.
This item is not on view
Head and Chest From a Sarcophagus, 4th century C.E. Terracotta, pigment, 17 1/2 x 17 1/2 x 4 1/2 in. (44.5 x 44.5 x 11.4 cm). Brooklyn Museum, Charles Edwin Wilbour Fund, 83.29. Creative Commons-BY (Photo: Brooklyn Museum, 83.29_PS1.jpg)
overall, 83.29_PS1.jpg. Brooklyn Museum photograph, 2006
"CUR" at the beginning of an image file name means that the image was created by a curatorial staff member. These study images may be digital point-and-shoot photographs, when we don\'t yet have high-quality studio photography, or they may be scans of older negatives, slides, or photographic prints, providing historical documentation of the object.
You may download and use Brooklyn Museum images of this three-dimensional work in accordance with a Creative Commons license
. Fair use, as understood under the United States Copyright Act, may also apply.
Please include caption information from this page and credit the Brooklyn Museum. If you need a high resolution file, please fill out our online application form
For further information about copyright, we recommend resources at the United States Library of Congress
, Cornell University
, Copyright and Cultural Institutions: Guidelines for U.S. Libraries, Archives, and Museums
, and Copyright Watch
For more information about the Museum's rights project, including how rights types are assigned, please see our blog posts on copyright
If you have any information regarding this work and rights to it, please contact email@example.com
Not every record you will find here is complete. More information is available for some works than for others, and some entries have been updated more recently. Records are frequently reviewed and revised, and we welcome
any additional information you might have.