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MFA for Educators

Engage your students with the collections of the Museum of Fine Arts, Boston, to illustrate themes and concepts in any discipline.

Homeschool (9-11) Afternoon: Masks

  • Ancient Egypt Funerary Masks

    Slide Notes

    Gilded cartonnage mask with stylized features. The heavy wig is painted blue in imitation of lapis lazuli, with a red fillet. The ends of the lappets are decorated with images of the funerary god Ptah-Sokar.

    Details

    Mummy mask

    50 B.C.–50 A.D.

    Dimensions

    Overall: 47 x 28 x 21.5cm (18 1/2 x 11 x 8 7/16in.)

    Medium

    Gilded and painted cartonnage

    Classification

    Tomb equipment, Masks

    Accession Number

    02.827

    Collections
    The Ancient World More Info

    Description

    Gilded cartonnage mask with stylized features. The heavy wig is painted blue in imitation of lapis lazuli, with a red fillet. The ends of the lappets are decorated with images of the funerary god Ptah-Sokar.

    Multimedia

  • Mummy Mask

    Slide Notes

    Traditional Egyptian funerary practices continued well into Roman times, when cartonnage mummy masks were made to fit over the head of the wrapped mummy. They belong to the same tradition as mummy masks from the Middle Kingdom. This face, modeled in plaster, is bland and idealized, and represents the deceased transformed into a god. The gilding and glass inlays are quite dazzling. Yet the black hair emerging from beneath the headdress lends a human touch to this shining icon.

    The traditional lappet headdress is painted with age-old funerary motifs. A winged sun disk with uraei, image of the celestial Horus, crowns the head like a diadem, and rows of seated deities, Anubis jackals, and solar uraei adorn the sides. The broadcollar is a kaleidoscope of rosettes and geometric patterns imitating rows of beads. 

    The scene on the chest depicts the resurrection of Osiris. The god reclines on a lion bier, with Isis in front of him and Nephthys behind him, gesticulating with grief and uttering magic spells to bring him back to life. Above him hovers a falcon holding in its talons the shen-ring of eternity and a feather fan. Below are the Red Crown, the Double Crown, and the White Crown — the emblems of his power. Magic seems to take effect before our eyes as the shrouded one, the great god Osiris — his flesh of Nile silt, ram’s horns of divinity on his head — sits up in bed and turns to face his sister-wife. The god is reborn.

    -mfa.org

     

    Details

    Mummy mask

    late 1st century B.C. to early 1st century A.D.

    Dimensions

    Height x width: 46.5 x 32 cm (18 5/16 x 12 5/8 in.)

    Medium

    Gilded cartonnage

    Classification

    Tomb equipment, Masks

    Accession Number

    03.1859

    Collections
    The Ancient World
    On View
    Egyptian Funerary Arts Gallery (Mummies) - 109 More Info

    Description

    The wig of this cartonnage mask is painted in blue and gold stripes, bordered in red. The gilded collar has molded decoration. The sides and bottom of the mask are painted to represent a beadwork net of blue and green barrel beads joined by molded gold beads.

    Multimedia

  • Helmet Mask

    Slide Notes

    Details

    Helmet mask

    late 19th to early 20th century

    Artist Unidentified, African

    Dimensions

    36.19 x 20.8 (width) x 27.3 (depth) cm (14 1/4 x 8 3/16 x 10 3/4 in.)

    Medium

    Wood with black pigment and metal

    Classification

    Masks

    Accession Number

    1992.401

    Collections
    Africa and Oceania More Info

    Description

    Multimedia

  • Melanesian Mask

    Slide Notes

    Details

    Mask (kepong or ges)

    late 19th century

    Artist unidentified, Melanesian

    Dimensions

    36 cm (14 in.)

    Medium

    Wood, cane, fiber, pigments

    Classification

    Masks

    Accession Number

    1991.1072

    Collections
    Africa and Oceania More Info

    Description

    Multimedia

  • Mask (Deangle)

    Slide Notes

    Details

    Mask (deangle)

    20th century

    Dimensions

    41.9 cm (16 1/2 in.)

    Medium

    Wood, vegetable fiber, shell

    Classification

    Masks

    Accession Number

    1994.420

    Collections
    Africa and Oceania More Info

    Description

    Multimedia

  • This mask is of a stock female character from New Comedy, a young courtesan (hetaira) with head band and open mouth. She has her hair loose over the ears and tied in a knot at the crown of the head. She has bored pupils. She wears a broad fillet around the head and earrings in her ears. The mouth is open. 

    Traces of Cream color on fillet; yellow on hair; traces of cream color and white slip on face. Two suspension holes.

    Light red clay.