Art/ Collection/ Art Object

Mummy with an Inserted Panel Portrait of a Youth

Roman Period
A.D. 80–100
From Egypt, Fayum, Hawara, BSAE excavations 1910-1911
Encaustic on limewood, human remains, linen, mummification material
mummy: l. 169 cm (66 9/16 in); w. 45 cm (17 11/16 in); panel as exposed: l. 38.1 cm (15 in); w. 18 cm (7 1/16 in)
Credit Line:
Rogers Fund, 1911
Accession Number:
On view at The Met Fifth Avenue in Gallery 137
This mummy retains the panel inserted over the face. The portrait depicts a youth with large deep-set eyes and a down-turned mouth. His downy moustache indicates that he is no older than his early twenties. A number of mummy portraits represent youths with their first facial hair, a feature that had particular connotations in the Greek-educated society of Roman Egypt. The incipient moustache was both an indicator of the young man's entrance into important social groups and a signal that he was at the prime of sexual attractiveness and vigor.

In this era mummies might be kept above ground for periods of some months up to several years before final burial. Most probably they were deposited in chapels in cemeteries, where they were visited by relatives for ritual meals.

Link to the Artist Project
Y.Z. Kami on Egyptian mummy portraits
#3532. Mummy with an Inserted Panel Portrait of a Youth
#3682. Mummy with an Inserted Panel Portrait of a Youth
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Excavated by Flinders Petrie at Hawara with funds from the Egyptian Research Account. Acquired by Petrie and the ERA in the division of finds. Purchased from the ERA by the Museum, 1911.

Metropolitan Museum of Art 1911. A Handbook of the Egyptian Rooms. New York: The Metropolitan Museum of Art, fig. 59 (in all editions 1911-1922).

Petrie, William Matthew Flinders, Sir 1911. "Roman Portraits in Egypt." In Man: A Monthly Record of Anthropological Science, 11, p. 146, pl. K/a.

Petrie, William Matthew Flinders, Sir 1911. Records of the Past, 10, p. 306ff., fig. 3.

Petrie, William Matthew Flinders, Sir 1913. The Hawara portfolio : paintings of the Roman age, 22. Publications of the Egyptian Research Account and British School of Archaeology in Egypt, London, pl. XXII.

Reinach, Adolphe 1914. "Les portraits gréco-égyptiens." In Revue archéologique, 4-5, p. 1 n2, 13 n1, fig. 10.

Möller, Georg 1919. Das Mumienporträt. Berlin, p. 4, pl. 11.

Swindler, Mary Hamilton 1929. Ancient Painting, from the Earliest Times to the Period of Christian Art. New Haven, London: Yale University Press, p. 323, figs. 511 and 523.

Kittel, Gerhard and Eugen Fischer 1943. Das Antike Weltjudentum, 7. Forschungen zur Judenfrage, Hamburg: Hanseatische Verlagsanstalt, p. 154, fig. 145.

Parlasca, Klaus 1966. Mumienporträts und verwandte Denkmäler. Wiesbaden: Steiner, pp. 50 n234, 51 n247 no. 2, 252, 253.

Parlasca, Klaus 1969. Ritratti di Mummie, Series B Volume 1. Repertorio d'arte dell'Egitto Greco-Romano, Palermo, cat. no. 50.

Corcoran, Lorelei Hilda 1985. "Hawara Portrait Mummy No. 4." In Journal of Egyptian Archaeology, 71, pp. 191-193.

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, pp. 9, 20.

Borg, Barbara E. 1996. Mumienporträts, Chronologie, und Kulturelle Kontext. Mainz am Rhein: P. von Zabern, pp. 70, 72, 98, 106, 122, 129, 184, pl. 2.

Borg, Barbara E. 1998. "Die zierlichste Anblick der Welt ... ": Ägyptische Porträtmummien. Mainz am Rhein: P. von Zabern, p. 39 fig. 46.

Thompson, Randall C., Adel H. Allam, Guido P. Lombardi, L. Samuel Wann, M. Linda Sutherland, James D. Sutherland, Muhammad Al-Tohamy Soliman, Bruno Frohlich, David Mininberg, Janet M. Monge, Clide M. Vallodolid, Samantha L. Cox, Gomaa Abd el-Maksoud, Ibrahim Badr, Michael I. Miyamoto, Abd el-Halim Nur el-din, Jagat Narula, Caleb E. Finch, and Gregory S. Thomas 2013. "Atherosclerosis across 4000 years of human history: the Horus study of four ancient populations." In The Lancet, March 10, p. 4.

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