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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.

Masks

  • Mummy mask

    Slide Notes

    Details

    Mummy mask

    A.D. 1–50

    Dimensions

    Height: 57.2 cm (22 1/2 in.)

    Medium

    Painted and gilded cartonnage, inlaid glass

    Classification

    Tomb equipment, Masks

    Accession Number

    1993.555.1

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

    Description

    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.

    Multimedia

  • Mask (bikeghe)

    Slide Notes

    Details

    Mask (bikeghe)

    Late 19th to early 20th century

    Artist Unidentified, African

    Dimensions

    48.26 cm (19 in.)

    Medium

    Wood, pigment

    Classification

    Masks

    Accession Number

    1991.1067

    Collections
    Africa and Oceania More Info

    Description

    Multimedia

  • Gelede headdress

    Slide Notes

    Details

    Gelede headdress

    late 19th century

    Master of Anago, Late 19th century

    Dimensions

    41.91 cm (16 1/2 in.)

    Medium

    Wood, pigment

    Classification

    Masks

    Accession Number

    1991.1081

    Collections
    Africa and Oceania More Info

    Description

    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

  • Mask (kifwebe)

    Slide Notes

    Details

    Mask (kifwebe)

    20th century

    Artist Unidentified, African

    Dimensions

    50.8 cm (20 in.)

    Medium

    Wood, pigment, and hair

    Classification

    Masks

    Accession Number

    1992.409

    Collections
    Africa and Oceania More Info

    Description

    Multimedia

  • Head crest in elephant form (...

    Slide Notes

    Details

    Head crest in elephant form (ogbodo enyi)

    20th century

    Artist Unidentified, African

    Dimensions

    52.1 cm (20 1/2 in.)

    Medium

    Wood and pigment

    Classification

    Masks

    Accession Number

    1992.419

    Collections
    Africa and Oceania More Info

    Description

    Multimedia

  • Aegis of Isis

    Slide Notes

    Details

    Aegis of Isis

    945–712 B.C.

    Dimensions

    Height x width x depth: 27.5 x 19.2 x 29.3 cm (10 13/16 x 7 9/16 x 11 9/16 in.);

    Medium

    Bronze with inlays of electrum, silver, and bronze

    Classification

    Religious and cult objects

    Accession Number

    31.195

    Collections
    The Ancient World
    On View
    Egyptian Late Period Gallery - 216 More Info

    Description

    Early Egyptologists with a Classical background often drew on vocabulary from Greek mythology to describe Egyptian antiquities for which a suitable term was lacking. They borrowed the word aegis, which refers to the shield or breastplate of Athena, for religious or cult objects shaped like a broadcollar surmounted by the head of a deity. Evidently such a composition reminded them of images from Greek vase painting of Athena with the head of Medusa on her breastplate, serpents swirling around the perimeter. This particularly large and ornate aegis represents the goddess Isis. She wears the crown of Upper Egypt over a vulture headdress and a broadcollar with falcon-head terminals and a frieze of uraei along the top. The combination of different metal alloys for contrast was a specialty of the period and serves to point out the intricate patterns of the collar and crown. In real life such a heavy collar would have required a counterpoise, called a menat, to keep it in place. Such a counterpoise, heavily decorated, is attached to the back of this aegis by a hinge. The square scene at the top of the menat shows Isis suckling Horus. In Egyptian mythology, Isis took her newborn son Horus to the Delta marshes to hide him from his evil uncle Seth. There she protected him by her magic from snakes and scorpions. The round scene below shows Horus again, represented as a falcon in a papyrus grove flanked by the protective goddesses of the south (the vulture) and the north (the cobra). In both scenes Horus represents the king as recipient of divine sustenance and protection. Such elaborate mythological compositions were popular in Dynasty 22, when the technique of inlaid bronze was also at its height. In Egyptian art aegises appear as prow orna-ments on sacred boats and as finials on the top of poles carried in religious processions. They also occur as amulets and on finger rings, or they can be held in the hands of bronze statuettes of goddesses. It is not known how this particular aegis was used. There is no convenient way to hold it. It is perhaps best regarded as a votive offering placed in a temple.

    Multimedia

  • Mummy Mask

    Slide Notes

    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

  • Mummy Mask

    Slide Notes

    Details

    Mummy mask

    possibly early 2nd century A.D.

    Dimensions

    Height x width: 19 x 16.5 cm (7 1/2 x 6 1/2 in.)

    Medium

    Gilded plaster

    Classification

    Tomb equipment, Masks

    Accession Number

    1977.175

    Collections
    The Ancient World More Info

    Description

    Gilded plaster mummy mask. The eyes are inlaid with calcite and painted glass, with pupils of obsidan, set into a copper framework, the edges of which are serrated to form the eyebrows. The hair, beard and mustache are indicated by carefully rendered spirals.

    Multimedia

  • Mummy Mask of a Woman

    Slide Notes

    Details

    Mummy mask of a woman

    A.D. 101–200

    Dimensions

    Height x width x depth: 22.5 x 14.5 x 5.5 cm (8 7/8 x 5 11/16 x 2 3/16 in.)

    Medium

    Painted plaster with gold leaf

    Classification

    Tomb equipment, Masks

    Accession Number

    1995.685

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

    Description

    This mummy mask of plaster depicts the head of a woman with white face, black painted hair, eyes, lashes, and eyebrows, and pink lips. It has been given a patchy covering of rectangular gold leaf pieces (approximately 7) applied to white face. A pink ruffled wreath (justification shown on the deceased as a symbol of an afterlife reward) has been added to the top.

    Multimedia