Golden Mummies : Mask

Golden Mummies

<p style='text-align: justify;'>This helmet-like mask once enclosed the entire head of a mummified body. The deceased displays the attributes of divinity: a striped head-covering typical of images of both male and female deities and golden skin. In this example, it is clear that patches of gilding have been applied in rectangles to the face. This apparently summary treatment may indicate that it was a final component of the decorative process and may perhaps have been part of the funerary rituals once the mask was already in place upon the mummified body of the deceased.</p><p style='text-align: justify;'>The top of the head is almost entirely covered by concentric circles of elaborate decoration, including the styled representation of laurel leaves – a symbol of triumph in ancient Greek and Roman culture – to indicate the multicultural funerary iconography of the time.</p><p style='text-align: justify;'>An additional feature is to be noted: two distinct lines on the cheeks. This occurs on other masks of the Graeco-Roman Period and might have been a stylistic choice derived from much earlier coffins and masks, which may either represent the straps used to attach a ‘false’ divine beard, a stylised male beard or part of a necklace worn by the deceased. Given the uncertainty surrounding the origin and meaning of the motif, it remains unclear if it was associated with a particular gender of wearer in the Graeco-Roman Period.</p>

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