Golden Mummies : Mask

Golden Mummies

<p style='text-align: justify;'>This elaborate cartonnage mask enclosed the head and shoulders of the deceased like a helmet. It depicts a man with a light goatee beard, emerging as if from a hood. He holds a floral wreath and a rolled-up papyrus document – a sign of literacy, initiation and status. The eyes are of inlaid stone and set into copper alloy surrounds that form eyelashes. The skin of the face, neck and hands is covered with gold leaf – the golden flesh of the gods effecting the divinity of the deceased.</p><p style='text-align: justify;'>On the rear of the mask, Osiris, god of rebirth, is offered palm ribs – representing longevity and renewed life – by his sisters, the goddess Nephthys and Isis, each captioned in hieroglyphs with their names. Along each side of the mask are four unidentified deities. The projection at the bottom of the mask carries a scene of divine cows – perhaps to be identified with the sacred Apis or Mnevis bull – flanking a wrapped form, presumably of the god Osiris, sprouting vegetal life within an enclosure representing a sarcophagus or tomb structure. </p><p style='text-align: justify;'>Like much of the material discovered by Petrie’s teams at Hawara, this example was found badly damaged and was removed from the mummified body of the individual it protected. Likely at some point after its arrival in Manchester in the early Twentieth Century, the damaged mask was heavily restored and repainted, especially the top and the back of the head.</p>

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