Fayum mummy portraits are an interesting part of Egypt art, which we are going to talk about it and its function in detail.
“When you look directly at their eyes you feel that you come back to the ancient world, you are standing face to face with a real human”.
The artist “Yofouryosen Docksiders” described this kind of Egyptian art in these few words. Fayum portraits are a kind of painting imitates the nature.
It was painted on wooden boards, in a classical way, to imitate real human faces. These paintings were put on the mummies in Egypt, especially in El-Fayum city in South-Western Cairo.
You can find a lot of examples of these portraits in the Egyptian Museum. The faces which were painted are very realistic and deep sad ones.
Maybe a lot of people will not realize the great importance of these portraits in the ancient Egyptian art, but if you just take a minute in a deep contemplation, you will discover more details in their faces.
You may think in the deep past and ask you self were those people happy or sad? You may not find the answer.
These portraits are painted with wax, and its size does not exceed 20×30 cm.
This kind of art in Egypt dates back to the 1st Century AD during the roman era in Egypt, and it lasted until the 3rd and 4th Century when the Christianity entered Egypt and the Egyptian abandoned the Mummification.
In 1887, the British Egyptologist “Flinders Petry” discovered these portraits in El-Fayum governorate at Hawara area.
This kind of art was first introduced in the Roman and Greek civilizations and then entered Egypt in 4th Century B.C after the invasion of Alexander the Great.
The importance of this art increased after the Roman invasion in 30 B.C after the death of Cleopatra.
The Egyptians paid a great attention to the eternal life and they had a deep root culture about the death and Mummification, so this art has transformed into a funeral art.
The main target of this Egypt art was to commemorate the memory of the deads and make them in a contact with our world.
We have noticed that not all the mummies have portraits; it was exclusive only for the high ranks and dignitaries.
We have discovered about 900 Fayum mummy portraits, and they are now found in the museums of Egypt, London, and the Louvre in Paris.
In fact, these portraits are one of a kind in the world. The Egyptologists have found a lot in different parts of Egypt, but El-Fayum had the most.
Ancient Egypt art has a lot of types and styles, and Fayum mummies portraits very distinctive type of Egyptian art.