Beaded Egyptian Faience Mummy Mask

£ 395.00

A very fine Ancient Egyptian beaded mummy mask composed of small disc-shaped faience beads of various shades. They have been restrung in their original arrangement and depict a highly stylised face, with a yellow and triangular nose and trapezoid watery green eyes. The skin takes on a green hue while the small mouth and the contours of the face are rendered in red. This mask would have been placed over the face of the deceased at their burial, in a similar manner to the better-known cartonnage mummy masks, mostly for decorative or protective purposes.

Date: Circa 664 – 332 BC
Period: Late Dynastic Period
Provenance: Provenance: From Mariaud de Serres collection, Paris 1980-90s.
Condition: Very fine condition. The beads have maintained their original shape and colour.


Beaded mummy masks abounded during the Late Period, covering both decorative and symbolic purposes in burial practices. Their unnaturalistic style and the similarities between beaded mummy masks in general make it unlikely that they were modelled after the face of the deceased individual; they seem to have more likely been generic images of a dead human face as the absence of expression and the blue-greenish skin complexion could indicate. However, such masks have also been interpreted as visual representations of the god Osiris – himself also a dead being – frequently depicted in the tombs with an identical skin-colour. Their main function would have been the protection of the dead, and in our example, as the figure represented is wearing the beard of Osiris, it also could have shown his or her hope for reincarnation.

Weight 23.5 g
Dimensions L 10.7 x W 10 cm


Egyptian Mythology


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Reference: For a similar item, Kunsthistorisches Museum Wien, item number 10060.

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