About this object

The external appearance of the mummy carefully reproduces a female body with all limbs clearly visible. This is very similar to another mummy in our collection (M14048). Besides discolouration, the external bandages are also worn and damaged. The top of the head has not been wrapped and shows the close cropped natural hair, skin and parts of the bare skull. There are enough traces of paint left on the face to show that the eyes and mouth were painted on the outer covering. The forehead is encircled by a linen fillet which leaves the shaven crown of the head exposed. Each digit was bound separately, and it is clear from the remaining bandages that those about the feet were arranged in imitation of sandals, as on M14048 and on two mummies in the National Museum of Antiquities in Leiden (AMM 24 and 25). Narrow strips of linen from the shoulders to the waist cross each other between the breasts, and there is a wide belt of painted linen at the waist. Much of the paint has since disappeared, but rosettes remain. A description of the mummy c. 1867 describes that around the waist was a painted belt with feather ornaments, a figure of Osiris with a papyrus sceptre and flower or wheel [rosette] designs. It is likely that there may have once been similar bands of linen around the knees, and also perhaps round the arms and ankles.

An amulet frame is suspended from the neck (perhaps not originally so?) and rests on the breast. It is made from palm fibre tightly bound with linen thread and supports 5 rows of 16 small wooden gilded amulets, some of which are now missing. An almost identical collar bearing amulets is suspended about the neck of a Roman period mummy in the British Museum (EA 6714), and a rectangular frame of wicker-work lies across the chest of a mummy in the National Museum of Antiquities in Leiden (AMM 24). The mummy is c. 5 ft. 3 in. in height and X-ray analysis in 1967 showed that the epiphyses of the iliac crests which suggests death at about the age of 19 years. This mummy came to England in a coffin of the 22nd Dynasty (early 8th century BC) which belonged to a singing woman of the temple of Amun, Aset (Isis) (M13997b). The mummy was X-rayed by PHK Gray in November 1966 and the interpretation of the radiograph images below is taken from the 1968 publication of the study:

SKULL: There are no obvious fractures, and the mouth is closed. All teeth appear to be present, but there is evidence of dental attrition. The cervical spine appears to be intact.

THORAX AND ABDOMEN: The skeleton is in a far better condition than that of M14047, and apart from crack fractures of the 5th, 6th and 7th right ribs and some slight sclerosis of the vertebral end-plates no abnormality is noted in the bony structures. However, the internal treatment of the body differs somewhat in comparison with M14047, the body cavities appearing empty save for what is either a linen pack or a mass of solidified resin in the lower part of the left hemithorax. The bones and joints of the pelvis appear within normal limits, but what seems to be a ball of linen occupies the pelvic cavity.

ARMS: Extended. The palms of the hands, fingers extended, rest on the outer aspect of the thighs. No fractures or dislocations seen.

LEGS: No fractures noted, but there is marked widening of both knee joints and evidence of recent restoration about the left knee. Either a line of arrested growth or an epiphyseal scar is shown in the lower end of either tibia. The bones of the feet appear normal, but the terminal phalanges of the 2nd and 3rd right toes are missing and the bones of the 4th and 5th right toes are absent from the mid-shaft of the proximal phalanges.

Object specifics

  • Type
    Animal Remains
  • Culture
  • Artist/Maker
    Unknown or unrecorded
  • Place made
    Africa: Northern Africa: Egypt: Thebes
  • Date made
    Roman Period (about AD 200 - 300)
  • Materials
    Body-Part Human; Pigment; Resin; Linen
  • Location
    Item not currently on display
  • Acquisition
    Gift of Joseph Mayer
  • Collector
    Joseph Mayer
  • Place collected
    Africa: Northern Africa: Egypt: Thebes
  • Date collected
  • Measurements
    230 mm x 420 mm x 1560 mm
  • Note
    The mummy belongs to a well-known type datable to the Roman Period, of which there are 8: 2 in Liverpool, 3 in Leiden, 1 in London, 1 in Rio de Janeiro & 1 in Avignon. Compare with Raven and Taconis, 'Egyptian Mummies' (Turnhout, 2005), nos. 29 - 31, pp. 191-203; and Ägyptische Mumien. Unsterblichkeit im Land der Pharaonen (Stuttgart, 2007), p. 196 (no. 30) [Leiden AMM 24] and p. 191 (no. 29) [Leiden AMM 25].

    Although outwardly it does not seem to have been damaged to any great extent, the bones, particularly those of the legs were found, upon examination in October 1964, to be in a very friable condition. Conservation work was essential if the legs were to be preserved, and an aluminium 'splint' was inserted at the right knee. Some of the amulets which the framework held are now missing, but those that survive are of wood on which there are still traces of gilding. They are as follows:Top row: Eye of Horus. Sun disc. Tablet (for Papyrus Sceptre). Sun disc. Eye of Horus; 2nd Row: Gods: Anubis (?). Isis. Osiris. Nephthys. Horus (?); 3rd Row: Heart. Djed pillar; 4th row: Duamutef (?). (The other three Son of Horus are now missing); 5th Row: Claw. Tablet (for Papyrus Sceptre). Claw.

    In Joseph Mayer's 1852 catalogue he refers to the mummy as being "a specimen of the Greco-Egyptian method of embalming, which differed from the pure antient [sic.] style, by bandaging each limb seperately, giving a more natural form".
  • Related people
    Joseph Mayer (Associated Person, collector, previous owner); Joseph Sams (Collector, previous owner)

Where is this object from?

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    Publisher: Joseph Mayer
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    Description: Joseph Mayer published a catalogue of his collection in 1852, whilst it was at his Egyptian Museum in Colquitt Street. This is before he donated his collection to the Liverpool Free Public Museums in 1867 so his entries do not include the accession numbers that the objects now bear.

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    Date: 1879
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Previous owners

  • Joseph Mayer

    Owned from: 1839
    How acquired: Unknown or unrecorded
    Owned until: 1867
    Disposal method: Unknown or unrecorded
  • Joseph Sams

    Owned from: 1833
    How acquired: Unknown or unrecorded
    Owned until: 1839
    Disposal method: Unknown or unrecorded
Object view = Humanities
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