Cartonnage of a Woman

Third Intermediate Period
Dynasty 22–24
ca. 945–712 B.C.
From Egypt, Fayum Entrance Area, Meidum (Maidum)
Cartonnage, paint
h. 161.3 cm (63 1/2 in); w. 45.7 cm (18 in); d. 25.4 cm (10 in)
Credit Line:
Gift of Mrs. G. W. Neville and Miss Cardwell, 1906
Accession Number:
  • Description

    During the New Kingdom, coffin and cartonnage styles were consistent throughout Egypt. With the diminution of central influence in the Third Intermediate Period, the evolution of coffin styles in Thebes and southern Upper Egypt remained relatively continuous, but recent research has shown that that a distinctive style evolved in northern Upper Egypt. This cartonnage is an example of the northern Upper Egyptian style that extended from Beni Hassan to the Memphite area, and included the Fayum. The style may have stretched into the Delta, although there is so far too little information about Delta burial practices to decide.
    Characteristics of the overall style observable here include the plain white ground with a single line of inscription, the 'living' pose of the female with one arm clasped beneath her breast and the other extended by her side, and the insertion of a separate wood face for the cartonnage. In addition the inscriptions are frequently corrupt, but regularly include a distinguishing phrase within the offering formula, as in the case of the female cartonnage: "may he give water to your ba, offerings to your corpse, clothing to your mummy." Distinctive ornamental elements visible include the black and white chain-like element running alongside the inscription column, and a colorful "glove" that covers the lower hand.

  • Provenance

    Received with a group of material described as excavated by John Cardwell 1886–1889 at Meidum under a permit granted by Tawfik Pasha, and received in partage. Donated to the museum by the daughters of John Cardwell in 1906.

  • See also
    In the Museum
    Heilbrunn Timeline of Art History