Funerary mask of a woman

In Roman Egypt people often used three-dimensional masks, made of cloth or papyrus, to cover the face of the deceased. The use of funerary masks, made of various material, was a very old tradition in this part of the world. Typical Egyptian masks were quite schematic and rather idealized. In Hellenistic times, a more realistic style of representation emerged, possibly as the result of increased contacts with Greek artistic traditions.

The mask of the Canellopoulos Museum is made of cloth and painted plaster. The eyes are rendered in light blue, the eyelashes, eyebrows and neck in black, the lips and two creases under the chin (perhaps suggesting old age) in red. The stylistic traits of the mask suggest an advanced date, perhaps in the 4th c. AD.

Μ. 2006. Cat. no. 169, in Choremi-Spetsieri Α. – Zarkadas Α. (eds), The Paul and Alexandra Canellopoulos Museum. AncientArt, Athens, 261.