Egypt, Ptolemaic to early Romano-Egyptian period, ca. 332 BCE to 1st century CE. A rare head from a corn mummy, the face formed by placing layers of woven linen inside a face-shaped mold and solidifying them with light plaster or bitumen. The face is decorated with red lips, black eyes, applied fibrous eyebrows, and petite ears, with a striped yellow-and-black Nemes headcloth bearing lengthy frontal flaps, and a central panel atop the chest depicting three ambiguous items, perhaps slender lotus flowers or thin hes-vases. The white-painted face indicates the effigy is depicting not an individual of Egyptian descent, but of Greek descent consistent with the Ptolemaic period. The back of the head is reinforced with jet-black bitumen, and the hollow interior would have fit over the neck or head area of a full corn mummy body. Corn mummies are ritual objects buried in place of a deceased individual inside a box surmounted by an effigy of the funerary deity Ptah-Sokar Osiris. Size: 3.625" W x 5.625" H (9.2 cm x 14.3 cm); 7.4" H (18.8 cm) on included custom stand.
Provenance: private J.H. collection, Beaverton, Oregon, USA
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Losses to areas of eye brows, areas of Nemes headcloth, frontal panel on chest, peripheries, and verso as shown. Fading to areas of original pigmentation, desiccation commensurate with age, nicks and abrasions to face, headcloth, peripheries, and verso, and traces of bitumen on verso. Great remnants of original pigment throughout.