Mummy Shroud

1973.4.503

Information

Representation of the deceased as the god Osiris painted on linen. This is a small fragment from a large painted linen shroud that once was wrapped around a mummified body. It probably dates to circa AD 100 - 200 when it was known for greater attention to be devoted to the external appearance of the wrapped mummy. Shrouds were painted with portraits representing the deceased in poses adapted from Hellenistic Greek repertoire. This shroud depicts the transfigured dead person who has assumed the identity of Osiris, appearing in mummy form in frontal pose. Osiris is wearing the atef crown with a plume on either side and a small disc and uraeus at the centre. His hands hold a flail and sceptre, attributes of Osiris and emblems of royal authority. Wellcome Historical Medical Museum P 174 (CC 5039): Purchased at Sotheby's, London, 20 July 1928 (Henry Holden collection) Lot 95. The back of the frame is marked CC 5039/ P. 174. A label stuck to the back of the frame "Found in a Tomb in Egypt in 1870 & brought home by General the Hon. Sir Percy Feilding when he returned to England in 1878". notes the shroud was collected in Thebes, 1870. Photographs have been sent to Dr Jónatan Ortiz Garcia who wrote “could be made in Memphis (found in Saqqara) during the 1st century BC" (pers. com. with Ashley Cooke, November 2014). It is very similar in style to the lower part of a shroud now in Brooklyn Museum, New York, and the two may very well have once belonged together. Previously kept within a picture frame (H, 820; W, 320); removed, cleaned and remounted for display in 2008.