Head covering of Padihorpasheraset
1st-2nd century AD
cartonnage, gilt, glass paste, pigment
Felton Bequest, 1995 (D144-1994)
The presentation of the head of the deceased was especially important in ensuring survival in the next life. In the Old Kingdom the facial features were painted upon the linen body wrappings and sometimes modeled into them, while some instances the head, and occasionally the entire body, were coated with plaster into which details were modeled. In the Middle Kingdom the upper part of the torso and head were covered with mas made from painted Cartonnage; anthropoid coffins evolved, made first in wood and the cartonnage, in which the head was emphasized.
They become popular again during the Ptolemic and Roman Periods when normally only certain sections of the wrapped body were covered with decorated cartonnage. Cartonnage comprises layers of linen, sometimes also papyrus, stiffened with glue with a surface layer of gesso; the facial features are modeled into this and details added.
This fine examples shows stylized facial features with glass inlays for the eyes and eyebrows, and decorations with rich religious symbolism. The fillet is tied at the rear; crowned, rearing cobras are attached to it ends, supporting the sign for
life. The lappets each carry a seated figure of Ra wearing the solar disc, the falcon Sokar, the deceased before a seated Osiris, and a row of five gods. The gilding is a mask of the affluence of the owner but identifies him with the creator god, whose skin is gold.