Ancient Egypt, Late Dynastic Period, 26th to 31st Dynasty, ca. 664 to 332 BCE. An ever watchful pair of ancient bronze and alabaster eyes and eyebrows, the alluring bronze eye rims with extended cosmetic lines, elongated canthi, and heavy lids, inlaid with alabaster sclera displaying black-painted irises. Eyes like these were placed onto wooden mummy masks before burial to allow the soul to 'see' during their journey to the afterlife. Size: 2.625" L x 0.875" W (6.7 cm x 2.2 cm); 4.5" H (11.4 cm) on included custom stand.
Ancient Egyptians believed it was of the utmost importance to preserve a body of the deceased, because the soul needed a place to reside after the death. Preservation of the body was done via mummification - a process involving the removal of internal organs that were placed in canopic jars, wrapping body in linen, and then embalming. Death masks like these eyes would have adorned were created so that the soul could recognize the body and return to it. For this reason, death masks were made in the likeness of the deceased. The eyes in particular were used by the deceased to see in death.
Provenance: private Davis collection, Houston, Texas, USA
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