27: A Framed Egyptian Cartonnage Fragment
This is a multicolored fragment from a mummy cartonnage, showing one of the four children of the Egyptian god Horus, human headed and standing within a frame. His body is depicted mummiform with only his head and hands protruding. His face is surrounded by a tripartite wig and his hands are holding a strip of linen bandage.
Sometimes the children of Horus were depicted with heads which allow us to determine which god is which: a human head for Imsety, a baboon head for Hapy, a jackal head for Duamutef and the head of a falcon for Qebehsenuf. But on other occasions all four were depicted with a human head. Therefore it is impossible to know with certainty which of the gods is depicted on this cartonnage fragment.
Munro has argued that all four gods have originally been represented in human form, among them Imsety as a female. Later, in the Middle Kingdom, they were also shown as animals, but only during the New Kingdom they were each connected with a particular animal (see Peter Munro, "Bemerkungen zum Gestaltwandel und zum Ursprung der Horus-Kinder", in Festschrift zum 150jšhrigen Bestehen des Berliner ńgyptischen Museums (Staatliche Museen zu Berlin, Mitteilungen aus der ńgyptischen Sammlung, 8) (Berlin, Akademie Verlag, 1974), p. 195-204).
Cartonnage was made with several layers of linen (or, in later periods, sometimes recycled papyrus documents) which were glued together and shaped in a mould or moulded over the mummy, and then coated with a layer of gesso (a mixture of glue and plaster). This resulted in a smooth medium, well suited for painting.
Size: Height 11.7 cm, width 7.1 cm; size of the frame ca. 20.5 x 15.5 x 3.5 cm. Overall a nice example. Framed behind glass in a black frame.
Provenance: Belgian private collection V.H.; previously with Arte Primitivo, 26 October 2003, lot 39; previously US west coast private collection, pre-1983.
This lot will be sold not subject to a reserve. The starting price is the price at which the item can sell.
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Some unimportant damage as is to be expected with such a fragile item, with very minor paint loss, all as shown.