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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 4127 times)
Bianca
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« Reply #15 on: January 30, 2008, 03:52:42 pm »






                                               Culture-historical context






Changes in burial habits



The burial habits of Ptolemaic Egyptians mostly followed ancient traditions.

The bodies of members of the upper classes were mummified, equipped with a decorated coffin
and a mummy mask to cover the head.

The Greeks who entered Egypt at that time mostly followed their own habits. There is evidence
from Alexandria and other sites indicating that they practised the Greek tradition of cremation.
This broadly reflects the general situation in Hellenistic Egypt, its rulers proclaiming themselves
to be pharaohs but otherwise living in an entirely Hellenistic world, incorporating only very few
local elements.

Conversely, the Egyptians only slowly developed an interest in the Greek-Hellenic culture that
dominated the East Mediterranean since the conquests of Alexander.

This situation changed substantially with the arrival of the Romans. Within a few generations,
all Egyptian elements disappeared from everyday life. Cities like Karanis or Oxyrhynchus are
largely Graeco-Roman places. There is clear evidence that this resulted from a mixing of
different ethnicities in the ruling classes of Roman Egypt.





Religious continuity



Only in the sphere of religion is there evidence for a continuation of Egyptian traditions.
Egyptian temples were erected as late as the 2nd century AD.

In terms of burial habits, Egyptian and Hellenistic elements now mixed. Coffins became
increasingly unpopular and went entirely out of use by the 2nd century. On contrast,
mummification appears to have been practised by large parts of the population. The mummy
mask, originally an Egyptian concept, grew more and more Graeco-Roman in style, Egyptian
motifs became ever rarer.

The adoption of Roman portrait painting into Egyptian burial cult belongs into this general
context.





Link with Roman ancestor worship?



Some authors suggest that the idea of such portraits may be closely related to the Roman
tradition of ancestor worship, especially with the habit of producing imagines, (wax) images
of the deceased, and displaying them in the house.

Thus, it seems likely that the development of painted mummy portraits represents the combi-
nation of elements of Roman ancestral worship with Egyptian funerary tradition.

It is notable that the mummy portrait tradition appears to have developed only after full Roman
control over Egypt was established.





"Salon paintings"?



The images depict the heads or busts of men, women and children. They probably date from
circa 30 BC to the 3rd century AD.

To the modern eye, the portraits appear highly individualistic. Therefore, it has been assumed
for a long time that they were produced during the lifetime of their subjects and displayed as
"salon paintings" within their houses, to be added to their mummy wrapping after their death.

Newer research rather suggests that they were only painted after death[8], an idea perhaps
contradicted by the multiple paintings on some specimens and the (suggested) change of spe-
cific details on others. The individualism of those depicted was actually created by variations
in some specific details, within a largely unvaried general scheme.

The habit of depicting the deceased was not a new one, but the painted images gradually
replaced the earlier Egyptian masks, although the latter continued in use for some time, often
occurring directly adjacent to portrait mummies, sometimes even in the same graves.





Realism and convention



Together with Greek vases and frescoes from Pompeii and Herculaneum, Macedonia and
elsewhere, they are the best preserved paintings from ancient times and are renowned
for their remarkable naturalism.

It is, however, debatable whether the portraits depict the subjects as they really were.
Analyses have shown that the painters depicted faces according to conventions in a repe-
titive and formulaic way, albeit with a variety of hairstyles and beards. They appear to
have worked from a number of standard types without making detailed observations of the
unique facial proportions of specific individuals which give each face its own personality.





Style



In the virtual absence of other panel paintings from the period in question, it is difficult to
make firm statements about the stylistic context of the portraits. While it seems clear that
they are not in continuity from Egyptian precedents, the same cannot be said for the north-
ern shores of the Mediterranean, where such material is less likely to have survived, due to
climatic conditions there.

Evidence from frescoes, mosaics and other media suggests that stylistically, the mummy por-
traits broadly fit within the prevailing Graeco-Roman traditions then dominant around the Medi-
terranean.




Coexistence with other burial habits



The religious meaning of mummy portraits has not, so far, been fully explained, nor have associated
grave rites. There is some indication that it developed from genuine Egyptian funerary rites, adapted
by a multi-cultural ruling class.

The tradition of mummy portraits occurred from the Delta to Nubia, but it is striking that other funerary
habits prevailed over portrait mummies at all sites except those in the Faiyum (and there especially
Hawara and Achmim) and Antinoopolis.

In most sites, different forms of burial coexisted.

The choice of grave type may have been determined to a large extent by the financial means and
status of the deceased, modified by local customs.

Portrait mummies have been found both in rock-cut tombs and in freestanding built grave complexes,
but also in shallow pits. It is striking that they are virtually never accompanied by any grave offerings,
with the exception of occasional pots or sprays of flowers.

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« Reply #16 on: January 30, 2008, 03:57:27 pm »









                                           End of the mummy portrait tradition





For a long time, it was assumed that the latest portraits belong to the end of the 4th centuryAD,
but recent research has modified this view considerably, suggesting that the last wooden portraits
belong to the middle, the last directly painted mummy wrappings to the second half of the 3rd cen-
tury. It is commonly accepted that production reduced considerably since the beginning of the
3rd century.

Several reasons for the decline of the mummy portrait have been suggested; no single reason
should probably be isolated, rather, they should be seen as operating together.

In the 3rd century the Roman Empire underwent a severe economic crisis, severely limiting the
financial abilities of the upper classes. Although they continued to lavishly spend money on
representation, they favoured public appearances, like games and festivals, over the production
of portraits.

Other elements of sepulchral representation, like sarcophagi did, however, continue.

There is evidence of a religious crisis at the same time. This may not be as closely connected
with the rise of Christianity as previously assumed (the earlier suggestion of a 4th century end
to the portraits would coincide with the widespread distribution of Christianity in Egypt. Christia-
nity also never banned mummification).

An increasing neglect of Egyptian temples is noticeable during the Roman imperial period, leading
to a general drop in interest in all ancient religions.


The Constitutio Antoniniana, ie the granting of Roman citizenship to all free subjects changed the
social structures of Egypt. For the first time, the individual cities gained a degree of self-admini-
stration. At the same time, the provincial upper classes changed in terms of both composition and
inter-relations.

Thus, a combination of several factors appears to have led to changes of fashion and ritual.
No clear causality can be asserted.

Considering the limited nature of the current understanding of portrait mummies, it remains dis-
tinctly possible that future research will considerably modify the image presented here.

For example, some scholars suspect that the centre of production of such finds, and thus the
centre of the distinctive funerary tradition they represent, may have been located at Alexandria.
New finds from Marina el-Alamein strongly support such a view.[32] In view of the near-total
loss of Greek and Roman paintings, mummy portraits are today considered to be among the very
rare examples of ancient art that can be seen to reflect "Great paintings" and especially Roman
portrait painting.
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« Reply #17 on: January 30, 2008, 04:05:58 pm »



Depiction of a young woman with a ringlet
hairstyle, wearing a violet chiton and coat
and pendant earrings.

British Museum.
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« Reply #18 on: January 30, 2008, 04:10:31 pm »








                             Mummy portraits as sources on provincial Roman fashion





 
Provincial fashions



Mummy portraits depict a variety of different hairstyles. They are one of the main aids in dating
the paintings. The majority of the deceased were depicted with hairstyles then in fashion. They
are frequently similar to those depicted in sculpture.

As part of Roman propaganda, such sculptures, especially those depicting the imperial family,
were often displayed throughout the empire. Thus, they had a direct influence on the develop-
ment of fashion.

Nevertheless, the mummy protaits, as well as other finds, suggest that fashions lasted longer in
the provinces that in the imperial court, or at least that diverse styles might coexist.





Hairstyles



Since Roman men tended to wear short-cropped hair, female hairstyles are a better source of
evidence for changes in fashion.

The female portraits suggest a coarse chronological scheme: Simple hairstyles with a central
parting in the Tiberian period are followed by more complex ringlet hairstyles, nested plaits and
curly toupées over the forehead in the late first century AD.

Small oval nested plaits dominate the time of the Antonines, simple central-parting hairstyles
with a hairknot in the neck occur in the second half of the 2nd century.

The time of Septimius Severus was characterised by toupée-like fluffy as well as strict, straight
styles, followed by looped plaits on the crown of the head. The latter belong to the very final
phase of mummy portraits, and have only been noted on a few mummy wrappings. It seems to
be the case that curly hairstyles were especially popular in Egypt.
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« Reply #19 on: January 30, 2008, 04:13:03 pm »



Depiction of a woman with a ringlet
hairstyle, an orange chiton with black
bands and rod-shaped earrings.

Royal Museum of Scotland.
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« Reply #20 on: January 30, 2008, 04:16:38 pm »






Clothing



Like the hairstyles, the clothing depicted also follows the general fashions of the Roman Empire,
as known from statues and busts.

Both men and women tend to wear a thin chiton as an undergarment. Above it, both sexes tend
to wear a coat, laid across the shoulders or wound around the torso.

The males wear virtually exclusively white, while female clothing is often red or pink, but can also
be yellow, white, blue or purple. The chiton often bears a decorative line (clavus), occasionally
light red or light green, also sometimes gold, but normally in dark colours. Some painted mummy
wrappings from Antinoopolis depict garments with long sleeves and very wide clavi.

So far, not a single portrait has been definitely shown to depict the toga, a key symbol of Roman
citizenship. It should, however, be kept in mind that Greek coats and togas are draped very similar-
ly on depictions of the 1st and early 2nd centuries AD. In the late 2nd and 3rd centuries, togas
should be distinguishable, but fail to occur.





Jewellery



With very few exceptions, only women are depicted with jewellery.

It generally accords to the common jewellery types of the Graeco-Roman East. Especially the
Antinoopolis portraits depict simple gold link chains and massive gold rings.

There are also depictions of precious or semi-precious stones like emerald, carnelian, garnet,
agate or amethyst, rarely also of pearls.

The stones were normally ground into cylindrical or spherical beads.

Some portraits depict elaborate colliers, with precious stones set in gold.

There are three basic shapes of ear ornaments: Especially common in the first century are
circular or
drop-shaped pendants. Archaeological finds indicate that these were fully or semi-spherical.

Later tastes favoured S-shaped hooks of gold wire, on which up to five beads of different
colours and materials could be strung. The third shape are elaborate pendants with a horizontal
bar from which two or three, occasionally four, vertical rods are suspended, usually each deco-
rated with a white bead or pearl at the bottom.

Other common ornaments include gold hairpins, often decorated with pearls, fine diadems,
and, especially at Antinoopolis, gold hairnets. Many portraits also depict amulets and pendants,
perhaps with magical functions.
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« Reply #21 on: January 30, 2008, 04:25:16 pm »



Tondo with images of Septimius Severus and his family.

Antikensammlung Berlin.

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« Reply #22 on: January 30, 2008, 04:30:03 pm »







                                                Art-historical significance





The mummy portraits have immense art-historical importance.

Ancient sources indicate that panel painting (rather than wall painting), ie painting on wood or
other mobile surfaces was held in high regard. But very few ancient panel paintings survive.

One of the few examples besides the mummy portraits is the Severan Tondo, also from Egypt
(around 200 AD), which, like the mummy portraits, is believed to represent a provincial version
of contemporary style.

Some aspects of the mummy portraits, especially their frontal perspective and their concentra-
tion on key facial features, strongly resemble later icon painting.

A direct link has been suggested, but it should be kept in mind that the mummy portraits repre-
sent only a small part of a much wider Graeco-Roman tradition, the whole of which later bore
an influence on Late Antique and Byzantine Art.

A pair of panel "icons" of Serapis and Isis of comparable date (3rd century) and style are in the
Getty Museum at Malibu; as with the cult of Mithras, earlier examples of cult images were scul-
ptures or pottery figurines, but from the 3rd century reliefs and then painted images are found.
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« Reply #23 on: January 30, 2008, 04:34:33 pm »







                                                         Bibliography





(chronological order)



W. M. Flinders Petrie: Roman Portraits and Memphis IV, London 1911 (online:[2])

Klaus Parlasca: Mumienporträts und verwandte Denkmäler, Wiesbaden 1966

Klaus Parlasca: Ritratti di mummie, Repertorio d'arte dell'Egitto greco-romano Vol. B, 1-4, Rome
1969-2003 (Corpus of all known mummy portraits)

Henning Wrede: Mumienporträts. In: Lexikon der Ägyptologie. Bd. IV, Wiesbaden 1982, column 218-222

Barbara Borg: Mumienporträts. Chronologie und kultureller Kontext, Mainz 1996, ISBN 3-8053-1742-5

Susan Walker, Morris Bierbrier: Ancient Faces, Mummy Portraits from Roman Egypt, London 1997
ISBN 0714109894

Barbara Borg: "Der zierlichste Anblick der Welt ...". Ägyptische Porträtmumien, Mainz 1998 (Zaberns
Bildbände zur Archäologie/ Sonderhefte der Antiken Welt, ISBN 3-8053-2264-X; ISBN 3-8053-2263-1
 
Wilfried Seipel (Hrsg.): Bilder aus dem Wüstensand. Mumienportraits aus dem Ägyptischen Museum
Kairo; eine Ausstellung des Kunsthistorischen Museums Wien, Milan/Wien/Ostfildern 1998;
ISBN 88-8118-459-1;

Klaus Parlasca; Hellmut Seemann (Hrsg.): Augenblicke. Mumienporträts und ägyptische Grabkunst
aus römischer Zeit [zur Ausstellung Augenblicke - Mumienporträts und Ägyptische Grabkunst aus
Römischer Zeit, in der Schirn-Kunsthalle Frankfurt (30. Januar bis 11. April 1999)], München 1999,
ISBN 3-7814-0423-4

Nicola Hoesch: Mumienporträts in: Der Neue Pauly, Vol. 8 (2000), p. 464f.
 
Susan Walker (ed.): Ancient Faces. Mummy Portraits from Roman Egypt. New York, 2000.
ISBN 0-415-92744-7.

Paula Modersohn-Becker und die ägyptischen Mumienportraits...Katalogbuch zur Ausstellung
in Bremen, Kunstsammlung Böttcherstraße, 14.10.2007-24.2.2008, München 2007,
ISBN 978-3-7774-3735-4

Jan Picton, Stephen Quirke, Paul C. Roberts (Hrsg): Living Images, Egyptian Funerary Portraits
in the Petrie Museum, Walnut Creek CA 2007 ISBN 978-1-59874-251-0



This article was initially translated from the Wikipedia article Mumienporträt,
specifically from this version.
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« Reply #24 on: January 30, 2008, 04:38:32 pm »






                                                            References





^ Berman, Lawrence, Freed, Rita E., and Doxey, Denise. Arts of Ancient Egypt. p.193.
Museum of Fine Arts Boston. 2003. ISBN 0878466614

^ Examples still attached are in the Egyptian Museum, Cairo and the British Museum

^ Oakes, Lorna. Gahlin, Lucia. Ancient Egypt: An Illustrated Reference to the Myths,
Religions, Pyramids and Temples of the Land of the Pharaohs. p.236 Hermes House. 2002.
ISBN 1-84477-008-7 '

^ Corpus of all known specimens: Klaus Parlasca: Ritratti di mummie, Repertorio d'arte
dell'Egitto greco-romano Vol. B, 1-4, Rome 1969-2003; a further specimen discovered
since: Petrie Museum UC 79360, B. T. Trope, S. Quirke, P. Lacovara: Excavating Egypt,
Atlanta 2005, p. 101, ISBN 1928917062

^ a b c d Barbara Borg: "Der zierlichste Anblick der Welt ...". Ägyptische Porträtmumien,
Mainz 1998, p. 10f.

^ Barbara Borg: "Der zierlichste Anblick der Welt ...". Ägyptische Porträtmumien,
Mainz 1998, p. 13f., 34ff.

^ Petrie: Roman Portraits and Memphis IV, p. 1

^ a b c d e f g Nicola Hoesch: Mumienporträts in: Der Neue Pauly, Bd. 8 (2000), p. 464

^ Wrede, LÄ IV, 218

^ Adams, Winthrope L in Bugh, Glenn Richard. ed. "The Hellenistic Kingdoms".
The Cambridge Companion to the Hellenistic World. Cambridge:
Cambridge University Press. 2006, p. 39

^ Stanwick, Paul Edmund. Portraits of the Ptolemies: Greek Kings as Egyptian
Pharaohs. Austin: University of Texas Press. 2003, p. 23

^ Adams, op cit.

^ Bagnall, R.S. in Susan Walker, ed. Ancient Faces : Mummy Portraits in Roman
Egypt (Metropolitan Museum of Art Publications). New York: Routledge, 2000, p. 27

^ Bagnall, op cit.

^ Bagnall, pp. 28-29

^ Egyptology Online: Fayoum mummy portraits accessed on January 16, 2007

^ Encyclopædia Britannica Online - Egyptian art and architecture - Greco-Roman
Egypt accessed on January 16, 2007

^ Bagnall, op cit.

^ Walker, Susan, op cit., p. 24

^ Dentition helps archaeologists to assess biological and ethnic population traits and
relationships
 
^ Irish JD (2006). "Who were the ancient Egyptians? Dental affinities among Neolithic
through postdynastic peoples.". Am J Phys Anthropol 129 (4): 529-43
 
^ Encyclopedia Of Ancient Greece, Nigel Guy, Routledge Taylor and Francis group, p.601

^ a b Barbara Borg: "Der zierlichste Anblick der Welt ...". Ägyptische Porträtmumien,
Mainz 1998, p. 58

^ Nicola Hoesch: Mumienporträts in: Der Neue Pauly, Bd. 8 (2000), p. 465
 
^ Barbara Borg: "Der zierlichste Anblick der Welt ...". Ägyptische Porträtmumien,
Mainz 1998, p. 53-55

^ Barbara Borg: "Der zierlichste Anblick der Welt ...". Ägyptische Porträtmumien,
Mainz 1998, p. 40-56; Walker, Bierbrier: Ancient Faces, p. 17-20

^ summarised in: Judith A. Corbelli: The Art of Death in Graeco-Roman Egypt,
Princes Risborough 2006 ISBN 0747806470

^ Barbara Borg: "Der zierlichste Anblick der Welt ...". Ägyptische Porträtmumien,
Mainz 1998, p. 78
 
^ Nicola Hoesch: Mumienporträts in: Der Neue Pauly, Bd. 8 (2000), p. 464; others
scholars, eg Barbara Borg suggest that they start under Tiberius.
 
^ Barbara Borg: "Der zierlichste Anblick der Welt ...". Ägyptische Porträtmumien,
Mainz 1998, p. 31

^ Barbara Borg: "Der zierlichste Anblick der Welt ...". Ägyptische Porträtmumien,
Mainz 1998, p. 88-101
 
^ Barbara Borg: "Der zierlichste Anblick der Welt ...". Ägyptische Porträtmumien,
Mainz 1998, p. 13f., 34ff.
 
^ Barbara Borg: "Der zierlichste Anblick der Welt ...". Ägyptische Porträtmumien,
Mainz 1998, p. 45-49

^ Barbara Borg: "Der zierlichste Anblick der Welt ...". Ägyptische Porträtmumien,
Mainz 1998, p. 49-51
 
^ Barbara Borg: „Der zierlichste Anblick der Welt ....“ Ägyptische Porträtmumien,
Mainz 1998, p. 51-52
 
^ other examples: a framed portrait from Hawara (Walker, Bierbrier: Ancient Faces,
p. 121-122, Nr. 117), the image of a man flanked by two deities from the same site
(Walker, Bierbrier: Ancient Faces, p. 123-24, Nr. 119), or the 6th century BC panels
from Pitsa in Greece

^ image

^ Kurt Weitzmann in The Icon, 1982, Evans Brothers Ltd, London, p. 3, (trans of Le
Icone, Montadori 1981), ISBN 0237456451


http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Fayum_mummy_portraits
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« Reply #25 on: January 30, 2008, 05:17:06 pm »



Faiyum mummy portrait of a young man.

Antikensammlungen, Munich
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« Reply #26 on: January 30, 2008, 05:20:10 pm »



Portrait of a Boy from Faiyum, on display at the

National Museum in Warsaw.
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« Reply #27 on: January 30, 2008, 05:22:32 pm »



Portrait of a young girl, on display at the

Museo Egizio - Florence, Italy
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« Reply #28 on: January 30, 2008, 05:25:45 pm »



Portrait of a man holding a plant, on display at the

Musée des Beaux-Arts de Dijon
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« Reply #29 on: January 30, 2008, 05:28:17 pm »



Portrait of a young girl, on display at the

Louvre.
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