Shroud of a Woman Wearing a Fringed Tunic, Linen, paint (tempera)

Shroud of a Woman Wearing a Fringed Tunic

Roman Period
A.D. 170–200
From Egypt; Possibly from Middle Egypt, Sheikh Abada (Antinoopolis); Said to be from Fayum
Linen, paint (tempera)
L. 230.2 × W. 110.8 cm (90 5/8 × 43 5/8 in.)
Credit Line:
Rogers Fund, 1909
Accession Number:
On view at The Met Fifth Avenue in Gallery 138
This round-faced woman wears a fine tunic with narrow clavi (stripes); a mantle is draped over her arms. The construction of her garments is not easy to understand. The very deep folds below her right arm could be part of the mantle or might constitute tunic sleeves, while a tight sleeve visible around her left wrist could belong to the tunic or an undertunic. The fine fringe around the bottom could also be part of the tunic or of the undergarment whose upper border, decorated with purple triangles, is visible at the neckline.

The woman wears a great deal of jewelry; earrings, three necklaces, six twisted gold bracelets, and three rings can be seen. On her feet are red socks and black sandals. She is flanked on either side by Egyptian deities and seems to step forward from a light gray rectangle. This form could be interpreted as a doorway, a late reminiscence of the so-called False Doors of pharaonic Egypt, elaborate niches through which the dead were believed to communicate with the living.
#3539. Shroud of a Woman Wearing a Fringed Tunic
For Audio Guide tours and information, visit
Purchased from Maurice Nahman in Cairo, 1909. Previously sold at Drouot, Paris, April 12, 1905.

Lythgoe, Albert M. 1910. "Græco–Egyptian Portraits." In The Metropolitan Museum of Art Bulletin, vol. 5, no. 3 (March), p. 69.

Reinach, Adolphe 1914. "Les portraits gréco-égyptiens." In Revue archéologique, 4-5, p. 18, fig. 13.

Dimand, Maurice S. 1930. "Coptic Tunics in the Metropolitan Museum of Art." In Metropolitan Museum Studies, vol. 2, no. 2 (May), p. 239; p.241, fig. 2.

Strelkov, A. 1936. Faiumskii Portret. Moscow, p. 28, fig. 12.

Galassi, Giuseppe 1953. Roma o Bisanzio, 1. Rome: Librerio dello Stato, p. 580, fig. 398.

Stricker, Bruno Hugo 1962. "AUGOEIDES SWMA." In Oudheidkundige mededeelingen uit het Rijksmuseum van Oudheiden te Leiden (OMRO), 43, p. 22, no. 117.

Needler, Winifred 1963. An Egyptian funerary bed of the Roman period in the Royal Ontario Museum. Toronto: University of Toronto, pp. 14, 19, 29, 41, 43, no. 127.

Parlasca, Klaus 1966. Mumienporträts und verwandte Denkmäler. Wiesbaden: Steiner, pp. 41, 183, nn. 173, 182, pl. 13 [3].

Parlasca, Klaus 1969. Ritratti di Mummie, Series B Volume 1. Repertorio d'arte dell'Egitto Greco-Romano, Palermo, cat. no. 20.

Berger, Jacques-Edouard and René Creux 1977. L'oeil & l'éternité: portraits romains d'Egypte. Paudeux, p. 216, fig. 6.

Corcoran, Lorelei Hilda 1988. Portrait Mummies from Roman Egypt. Ph.D. dissertation. Chicago, p. 12.

Corcoran, Lorelei Hilda 1995. Portrait mummies from Roman Egypt (I-IV centuries A.D.) : with a catalog of portrait mummies in Egyptian Museums, 56. Studies in Ancient Oriental Civilization (SAOC), Chicago: University of Chicago Press, p. 12.