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Egyptian Gilded Cartonnage Mummy Pectoral Ensemble

Ancient Egypt, Ptolemaic period, ca. 332 to 30 BCE. Elaborate, gilded cartonnage openwork panels from a mummy's cartonnage. This includes a large pectoral section and six profile god and goddess figures who would have surrounded it. The pectoral consists of a wesekh broadcollar and a kneeling, winged goddess Maat with her sun crown. These are joined by six thin strands of cartonnage. The god figures would have originally been inside of painted borders with hieroglyphic inscriptions written on them, prayers to Osiris asking for assistance in the afterlife. There is a falcon-headed Horus, jackal-headed Anubis, lion-headed Sekhmet, and a woman, possibly Isis. Two female figures kneel below those, possibly making a gesture of mourning. Size of largest piece: 9.2" W x 10.1" H (23.4 cm x 25.7 cm); size of frame:

All Egyptian funerary art was laden with symbolism that, by the Third Intermediate Period, had become ancient tradition, and this piece is no exception. Altogether, this cartonnage would have protected a mummy's coffin; the highly-trained artists who created it and the bereaved family members who commissioned it believed in the power of the symbols and words they painted to aid the deceased in the afterlife.

See a similar example that shows how the figures would have been held in place from Bonham's: https://www.bonhams.com/auctions/17855/lot/46/

Condition: Pieces are all fragments. Some tearing and losses to the edges, with some missing components as shown.

Provenance: private Cypress, Texas, USA collection

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