Looking to purchase online? Ask the dealer if it's available.
The ancient egyptians pioneered the practice of painting on linen because flax, from which linen is woven, lacks mordents to ...
moreThe ancient egyptians pioneered the practice of painting on linen because flax, from which linen is woven, lacks mordents to which dyes can adhere. It is for that reason that most of the clothing depicted in ancient egyptian art is white, the colour of un-dyed linen. In order to compensate for this lack of mordents, the egyptians as early as the pre-dynastic period (about 3200 bc) began the practice of painting on linen, paint taking the place of dye. By the time of the roman imperial period this long- established practice was employed for the decoration of funerary shrouds, of which ours is an outstanding example.
Our subject is an elite woman depicted wearing two garments. The first is a lavender coloured tunic, over both shoulders of which is draped a darker, purple- coloured shawl. The colours chosen are intentional marks of her status within society because during the roman imperial period, purple was generally reserved for the clothing of the reigning emperor and members of his immediate family. Living in egypt, this anonymous matron could wear the imperial purple with impunity. Her accessories include a pearl-like necklace which slips beneath the neckline of her tunic and elaborate earrings which are accurate depictions of actual earrings known to have been worn during this period. Her hair is deceptively arranged. It is not cut short, but is rather looped loosely around her ears and drawn up and tied at the back of her neck.
She is shown standing against a background, but the damaged state of the shroud, due to its age, precludes a precise identification of the environment in which she is posed. In parallel examples, one often encounters a depiction of a rectangular panel, which in one instance was inscribed in greek, the official language of roman egypt.
There are numerous parallels for this shroud, including a virtually identical example in the louvre. This group of shrouds has been assigned to the site of antinopolis, which was founded by the roman emperor hadrian in ad 130 in honour of his favorite, antinous. The site continued to prosper, particularly in the third century ad under the severan emperors, namely septimius severus, the founder, caracalla, his son, and their successors. It is to this period that this group of shrouds is dated.
The shrouds in this group are all representations of women. They are all identically posed with one arm bent at the elbow and extended forward with its open palm raised. The other hand holds an ankh cross.
The interpretation of this small and select group of shrouds of elite, aristocratic matrons from antinopolis remains enigmatic. If they are to be understood as an expression of prevailing egypto- roman funerary praxis, then the raised hand represents an apotropaic gesture intended to ward off evil so that the matron may enjoy eternal life, symbolized by the ankh-sign. Alternatively, it has been suggested that the population of antinopolis may have contained a number of prominent individuals who were christians. That suggestion has led other commentators to interpret the gesture of the open palm as that of a blessing. In this context, the ankh sign recalls the greek letters chi- rho, which form the christian monogram for christ.
In conclusion this shroud may have covered the remains of either a pagan or a christian. In fact, given that this period was one of great religious transition, it may well represent an individual with syncretic beliefs. The treatment of the body which appears flat and non- sculptural, the attention focused on the hands, and the emphasis placed on the eyes as windows of the soul clearly point toward stylistic conventions which later christian monks would employ to advantage in their creation of the first christian icons.
e. Doxiadis, ‘the mysterious fayum portraits. Faces from ancient egypt’, (new york 1995), pp. 118-119, P. 215, Cat. 91 & 94 (Louvre, no. Af 6440, excavated at antinopolis by the guimet excavations in the 1900-1901 season).
S. Walker, ‘ancient faces. Mummy portraits from roman egypt,’ (new york, 2000), pp. 147- 148, No. 99. less
For Made-to-Order items, refer to the product description for lead times and delivery window specific to your item. For all other items, please see below:
- Free Shipping
- Free shipping is offered on select listings.
- Items are typically delivered within 2 weeks of the purchase date.
- Larger items and furniture may take up to 6 weeks for delivery.
- Free Local Pickup
- Local pickup allows customers to inspect an item in person and avoid shipping costs
- A confirmation email is sent after the purchase with: Pickup Verification & Seller's contact information
- Please contact the seller within 5 days to coordinate pickup
- Parcel Delivery
- Shipment arranged through recognized carriers such as UPS, FedEx, DHL and USPS
- Only pieces that can be safely packed in a box are eligible
- Shipping charges start at $9 — Dependent on size, weight, value and packaging
- Items are typically delivered within 2 weeks of the purchase date
- DECASO White Glove Delivery
- Item is delivered inside your home
- Deliveries typically take about up to 6 weeks
- Delivery may take up to 8 weeks in more remote locations
- Shipping charges start at $299, depending on product type, value, size and location
- Seller Managed Delivery
- Shipping offered and managed by the seller
- Pickup and delivery through a shipper of the seller’s choice
- Available on items at the seller’s discretion
- Seller Managed Local Delivery
- Local curbside delivery handled by the seller within a limited geography
- A confirmation email is sent after the purchase with: Pickup Verification Code & Seller’s contact information
- Please contact the seller within 5 days to coordinate delivery
- Prior to shipping or local pickup, buyers may cancel an order for any reason.
- Please notify us within 24 hours of purchase if you would like to cancel an order, as prompt cancellation will reduce the likelihood that you will incur return shipping charges.
Under the DECASO Buyer Guarantee, all sales are final unless your item is:
- Entirely different than what you purchased
- If any of the above applies, email firstname.lastname@example.org within 48 hours of delivery, and if applicable DECASO will issue a full refund, including the outbound and return shipping charges.
- Local Pickup & Local Delivery
- All sales final once buyer takes possession of item.
- If you decide to cancel the order at pick up, you or your agent must reject the item at the time of pickup or delivery from the seller. Do not take the item with you or accept the curbside delivery.
- Please contact email@example.com to let us know you did not accept the item and would like to initiate a return.