Let’s Talk About: Egyptian Mummy Portraits

During the long history of Egypt, many millions of people (and animals) were mummified. “Far rarer are mummy portraits…detailed paintings of the living, buried with their mummies when they died.” (Thanks to National Geographic Magazine bit by Daniel Stone and photos from Google.)

The portraits were mounted on bands of cloth used to wrap bodies (mummies). Some 1300 mummy portraits are known to exist and most have now been removed and placed in museums. 

Egyptians spent up to a year’s wages to arrange funeral ceremonies and goods, often including portraits. Such portraits reveal the melting pot of cultures living in Egypt between the 1st and 3rd centuries. This was when Roman culture predominated and this is reflected in the portraits. Some of these portraits are identified!

Imagine having an image of your ancestor’s face who lived 2000 years ago???

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One comment on “Let’s Talk About: Egyptian Mummy Portraits

  1. Kathleen Weddle Sizer says:

    Having a love for Archaeology as well as genealogy, I am quite familiar with these portraits. Seeing the portraits brings the funeral to life and brings tears to oneself, especially for the infants. A few individuals live on in these portraits. Our families can live on in the written word that we provide even though we don’t have the early portraits. Move your family information from “oral” to “written” history for your future generations.

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