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Ruins Of 7,000-Year-Old City Found At Site of "Mummy Portraits"- PICTURES

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Author Topic: Ruins Of 7,000-Year-Old City Found At Site of "Mummy Portraits"- PICTURES  (Read 4997 times)
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« on: January 30, 2008, 02:44:38 pm »

                                                     Fayyum mummy portraits

Mummy portraits or Fayum mummy portraits (also Faiyum mummy portraits) is the modern term
for a type of realistic painted portraits on wooden boards attached to Egyptian mummies from
Roman Egypt. They belong to the tradition of panel painting, one of the most highly regarded
forms of art in the Classical world. In fact, the Fayum portraits are the only large body of
material from that tradition to have survived.

Mummy portraits have been found in all parts of Egypt, but they are especially common in the
Faiyum Basin, particularly from Hawara and Antinoopolis, hence the common name. "Faiyum
Portraits" should therefore be thought of as a stylistic, rather than a geographic, description.
While painted Cartonnage mummy cases date back to pharaonic times, the Faiyum mummy
portraits were an innovation dating to the time of the Roman occupation of Egypt.

They date to the Roman period, from the late 1st century BC or the early 1st century AD
onwards. It is not clear when their production ended, but recent research suggests the middle
of the third century AD. They are among the largest groups among the very few survivors of
the highly prestigious panel painting tradition of the classical world, which was continued into
Byzantine and Western traditions in the post-classical world, including the local tradition of
Coptic iconography in Egypt.

The portraits were attached to burial mummies at the face, from which almost all have now
been detached.[2] They usually depict a single person, showing the head, or head and upper
chest, viewed frontally. The background is always monochrome, sometimes with decorative
elements. In terms of artistic tradition, the images clearly derive more from Graeco-Roman
traditions than Egyptian ones. The population of the Faiyum area was greatly enhanced by a
wave of Greek immigrants during the Ptolemaic period, initially by veteran soldiers who settled
in the area.

Two groups of portraits can be distinguished by technique: One of encaustic (wax) paintings,
the other in tempera. The former are usually of higher quality.

About 900 mummy portraits are known at present. The majority were found in the necropoleis
of Faiyum. Due to the hot dry Egyptian climate, the paintings are frequently very well preserved,
often retaining their brilliant colours seemingly unfaded by time.
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