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Funerary Mask




Late Period (722-332 B.C.E.), 26th Dynasty (664-525 B.C.E.)


Funerary Mask


Cedar, traces of pigments, bronze inlays


45.3 x 36.6 x 22.5 cm


Purchase, Horsley and Annie Townsend Bequest, inv. 1959.B.4


Archeology and World Cultures

This mask must have been part of the second coffin lid for a member of the Egyptian elite. Beautifully made, it shows the skill of ancient Egypt’s wood craftsmen. Wood was a rare and precious material, originally reserved for kings and gods, and later, around the first millennium B.C.E., for the elite. The wood used here is Lebanon cedar, the type most prized by the Egyptians. The mask was initially attributed to the 18th Dynasty because of its style, reminiscent of the statuary of the Thutmosids (1493-1390 B.C.E.), but it seems instead to date from the 26th Dynasty, known for its archaistic manner reprising the artistic and stylistic precepts of the Old and New Kingdoms. While intermittently seen since the Old Kingdom, the short, squared-off false beard was particularly popular during the thousand years preceding our era.

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