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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 5060 times)
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« on: January 30, 2008, 03:36:18 pm »

                                                     Social status

The patrons of the portraits apparently belonged to the affluent upper class of military
personnel, civil servants and religious dignitaries. Not everyone could afford a mummy
portrait; many mummies were found without one. Flinders Petrie states that only one or
two per cent of the mummies he excavated were embellished with portraits.

The rates for mummy portraits do not survive, but it can be assumed that the material
caused higher costs than the labour, since in antiquity, painters were appreciated as
craftsmen rather than as artists.

The situation from the "Tomb of Aline" is interesting in this regard. It contained four
mummies: those of Aline, of two children and of her husband. Unlike his wife and children,
the latter was not equipped with a portrait but with a gilt three-dimensional mask.
Perhaps plastic masks were preferred if they could be afforded.

It is not clear whether those depicted are of Egyptian, Greek or Roman origin, nor whether
the portraits were commonly used by all ethnicities. The name of some of those portrayed
are known from inscriptions, they are of Egyptian, Greek, Graeco-Macedonian and Roman
origin. Hairstyles and clothing are always influenced by Roman fashion.

Women and children are often depicted wearing valuable ornaments and fine garments, men
often wearing specific and elaborate outfits.

Greek inscriptions of names are relatively common, sometimes they include professions.
It is not known whether such inscriptions always reflect reality, or whether they may state
ideal conditions or aspirations rather than true conditions.[24] One single inscriptions is
known to definitely indicate the deceased's profession (a shipowner) correctly.

The mummy of a woman named Hermione also included the term grammatike (γραμματική).
For a long time, it was assumed that this indicated that she was a teacher by profession
(for this reason, Flinders Petrie donated the portrait to Girton College, Cambridge, the first
residential college for women in Britain), but today, it is assumed that the term indicates
her level of education.

Some portraits of men show sword-belts or even pommels, suggesting that they were
members of the Roman military.
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