The mysterious Fayum portraits: faces from ancient Egypt
In the first three centuries A.D., in a fertile district of Roman Egypt called the Fayum, a diverse community of Greeks, Egyptians, Romans, Syrians, Libyans, Nubians, and Jews flourished. These people, and many of their contemporaries throughout the Nile Valley, embalmed the bodies of their dead and then placed over the faces portraits painted on wooden panels or linen. These paintings, today known as Fayum, or mummy, portraits, were created to preserve the memory of each individual.
The Fayum portraits are by far the most important body of portraiture to have survived antiquity. Reproduced in this arresting book are some 180 of the finest of the more than 1,000 extant images - of men, women, and children, young and old, plain and beautiful - all of whom seem uncannily alive. A few of these faces have become familiar to scholars and museum-goers, but as a whole they have been neglected by art historians and will be new to most readers.
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Foreword by Dorothy J Thompson
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2nd century acquired Akhmim ancient Antikensammlung Antinoopolis Arsinoe Arsinoite nome Artemidorus artists background bandages Berlin British Museum brush brushstrokes burial Byzantine Cairo colour cult dark dating deceased decorated depicted early Antonine earrings Ebers Egypt Egyptian Antiquities Egyptian Museum embalmers Encaustic on linen Encaustic on panel Er-Rubayat eyes face Fayum portraits flesh areas flesh tones Gayet girl gold leaf Graeco-Roman Graf coll Greek grey Hadrianic hair hairstyles hard tool Hawara highlights icons impasto inscription Isis jewelry lips London Louvre Memphis middle-late Antonine mummy portraits neck necklace necropolis Nile nome nose ornaments Osiris painted portraits painter papyri Parlasca pearls Petrie excavation Petrie Museum Petrie's Philadelphia Pliny portrait mummies Ptolemy Punic wax purple Roman Roman Egypt Saqqara seen Serapis shoulder shows shroud stucco technique Tempera on linen Tempera on panel thick Trajanic tunic underpainting underpainting is visible unpainted strip wears wood wreath yellow ochre