Wax Encaustic Mummy Portrait, Hawara


Osama Shukir Muhammed Amin
published on 24 March 2016

Mummy portrait of a young woman from Hawara cemetery, Egypt, 2nd century CE.

The Petrie Museum of Egyptian Archaeology, London (with thanks to The Petrie Museum of Egyptian Archaeology, UCL).

This wax encaustic portrait on a wood panel depicts a young woman. She has dark hair in rows of curls across her forehead. The skin pigment appears extremely patchy (predominantly cream). She has maroon-colored lips; the eyes are dark brown and white. There is no trace of jewellery except for ball earrings. The background is blue-grey. The portrait is virtually complete (in two main pieces, but restored previously from fragments, which were longitudinally cracked). There are traces of oiled bandages from its mummy binding at the top and lower edges of the plate (there are a few small linen patches).

The Petrie Museum has the largest collection of these "portraits" outside of Egypt. Originally, these portraits were placed over the mummified body; these images were hailed as the first lifelike representations of real people on their first exhibition in London in 1888. The portraits were excavated in 1888-1889 and 1910-1911.

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About the Author

Osama Shukir Muhammed Amin
Associate Professor of Neurology and lover of the Cradle of Civilization, Mesopotamia. I'm very interested in Mesopotamian history and always try to take photos of archaeological sites and artifacts in museums, both in Iraq and around the world.

Cite This Work

APA Style

Amin, O. S. M. (2016, March 24). Wax Encaustic Mummy Portrait, Hawara. World History Encyclopedia. Retrieved from https://www.worldhistory.org/image/4775/wax-encaustic-mummy-portrait-hawara/

Chicago Style

Amin, Osama Shukir Muhammed. "Wax Encaustic Mummy Portrait, Hawara." World History Encyclopedia. Last modified March 24, 2016. https://www.worldhistory.org/image/4775/wax-encaustic-mummy-portrait-hawara/.

MLA Style

Amin, Osama Shukir Muhammed. "Wax Encaustic Mummy Portrait, Hawara." World History Encyclopedia. World History Encyclopedia, 24 Mar 2016. Web. 02 Feb 2023.