The Mummy Trappings in the National Museum in Belgrade: A Reconstruction and Typological Assessment
Keywords:mummy cartonnage, helmet-type mask, collar-breast covering, a ritual unguent pouring, Fayum region, Hawara, Late Ptolemaic Period
In July 2009 the National Museum in Belgrade received – as a donation – two elements of a funerary assemblage: a fragmented mask and a conjoined collar-breast covering. Although heavily damaged, those ancient Egyptian mummy trappings furnish modern analysts with valuable information about their fabrication and ritual employment. The mask is of helmet-type, made of gessoed linen which had been decorated with paint and gilded upon the face. The front of the mask is in relatively fair condition, but the top and rear have suffered considerably, being reduced to small fragments whose original position is difficult to determine. The mask is heavily affected by staining caused by deliberately over-poured resin, i.e. the traces of a ritual unguent pouring. The collar-breast covering is a conjoined type forming a single rectangular or rather slightly trapezoidal plaque. The collar design consists of a system of schematized floral decoration arranged in seven semicircular bands around a single semi-lunate zone. A decorative grid containing funerary motifs extends below the collar field. It consists of four horizontal registers separated by polychrome bands of colored rectangles. The whole forms a complex tapestry of protective imagery: deities, amuletic symbols and magical vignettes. The mask and the breast cover are datable to the late Ptolemaic Period (ca. 100 – 50 B.C.). The most likely place of origin is site of Hawara at the entrance to the Fayum region.
Alberti, Samuel J. M. M. 2005. Objects and the Museum. Isis 96 (4): 559–571. https://doi.org/10.1086/498593.
Anđelković, Branislav. 2002a. The Ancient Egyptian Collection in the National Museum of Belgrade. Journal of the Serbian Archaeological Society 18: 211–224. (Serbian, English summary)
Anđelković, Branislav. 2002b. “Egyptian Antiquities in the Museums of Serbia”. In Egyptian Museum Collections around the World: Studies for the Centennial of the Egyptian Museum, Cairo, edited by Mamdouh Eldamaty and Mai Trad, 39–50. Cairo: Supreme Council of Antiquities.
Anđelković, Branislav. 2013. Hand in Hand with Politics: The Challenges of Egyptian Studies in Serbia. The Ancient Near East Today 2. Accessed June 9, 2019. http://www.asor.org/blog/2013/05/13/hand-in-hand-with-politics-the-challenges-of-egyptian-studies-in-serbia/.
Anđelković, Branislav. 2015. “Formation and Composition of the Egyptian Collections in Serbia”. In A History of Research into Ancient Egyptian Culture Conducted in Southeast Europe, edited by Mladen Tomorad, 107–115. Archaeopress Egyptology 8. Oxford: Archaeopress.
Anđelković, Branislav and Emily Teeter. 2006. Corpus of Egyptian Antiquities in Serbia: Additions and Corrections. Journal of the Serbian Archaeological Society 22: 253–264.
David, A. Rosalie, ed. 1979. Mysteries of the Mummies, The Manchester Mummy Project, Manchester.
Drenkhahn, Rosemarie and Renate Germer. (eds). 1991. Mumie und Computer: Ein multidisziplinaäres Forschungsprojekt in Hannover Germany. Hannover: Kestner-Museum.
Elias, Jonathan and Tamás Mekis. 2019. “An Exemplary Burial in Ptolemaic Thebes”. In The Book of the Dead, Saite through Ptolemaic Periods: Essays on Books of the Dead and Related Topics, edited by Malcolm Mosher, Jr., 123–170. Prescott, AZ: SPBD Studies.
Germer, Renate. 1997. Mummies: Life after Death in Ancient Egypt. Munich and New York: Prestel.
Germer, Renate, Hannelore Kischkewitz and Meinhard Lüning. 2009. Berliner Mumiengeschichten: Ergebnisse eines multidisziplinären Forschungsprojektes. Regensburg: Schnell und Steiner GmbH.
Gessler-Löhr, Beatrix. 2017. “Eine Gruppe Spätzeitlicher Mumiensärge aus el-Hibeh”. In Burial and Mortuary Practices in Late Period and Graeco-Roman Egypt: Proceedings of the International Conference held at the Museum of Fine Arts, Budapest, 17–19 July 2014, edited by Katalin Anna Kóthay, 195–240. Budapest: Museum of Fine Arts.
Ikram, Salima and Aidan Dodson. 1998. Mummy in Ancient Egypt: Equipping the Dead for Eternity. London: Thames and Hudson.
James, T. G. Henry. (ed.) 1982. Excavating in Egypt: The Egypt Exploration Society 1882–1982. Chicago: University of Chicago Press.
Jenkins, Tiffany. 2016. Keeping Their Marbles: How the Treasures of the Past Ended up in Museums ... And Why They Should Stay There. Oxford: Oxford University Press.
KMB. (Königliche Museen zu Berlin). 1899. Ausführliches Verzeichnis der Aegyptische Altertümer und Gipsabgüsse. Berlin: W. Spemann.
Manley, Bill and Aidan Dodson. 2010. Life Everlasting: National Museums Scotland Collection of Ancient Egyptian Coffins. Edinburgh: NMS Enterprises – Publishing.
Petrie, W. M. Flinders. 1889. Hawara, Biahmu and Arsinoe. London: Field & Tuer.
Petrie, W. M. Flinders, Gerald A. Wainwright and Ernest Mackay. 1912. The Labyrinth, Gerzeh and Mazghuneh. British School of Archaeology in Egypt and Egyptian Research Account 18th year. London: School of Archaeology in Egypt and Bernard Quaritch.
Töpfer, Suzanne. 2017. “Theory and Practice/Text and Mummies: The instructions of the ‘Embalming Ritual’ in light of Archaeological Evidence”. In Burial and Mortuary Practices in Late Period and Graeco-Roman Egypt: Proceedings of the International Conference held at the Museum of Fine Arts, Budapest, 17–19 July 2014, edited by Katalin Anna Kóthay, 21–32. Budapest: Museum of Fine Arts.
Vasiljević, Vera. 2018. Invisible Heritage: Ancient Egypt and the Museums in Serbia. Issues in Ethnology and Anthropology 13 (3): 617–630. (Serbian, English summary). https://doi.org/10.21301/eap.v13i3.3
Wade, Andrew D., et al. 2012. Scenes from the Past: Multidetector CT of Egyptian Mummies of the Redpath Museum. RadioGraphics 32: 1235–1250. https://pubs.rsna.org/doi/pdf/10.1148/rg.324125704
How to Cite
Copyright (c) 2019 Branislav Anđelković , Jonathan P. Elias
This work is licensed under a Creative Commons Attribution-ShareAlike 4.0 International License.