Fragment of Funerary Drape with Portrait - inv. 3334

Egypt, 6th century

Fragment of Funerary Drape with Portrait
VI secolo
wool   linen  
16,5 x 23,5 cm
1966 donation Associazione Amici di Brera e dei Musei Milanesi
Inv. 3334

Textiles Room


Following the Egyptian tradition, under the Pharaohs had already become customary to affix a portrait of the dead person to the bandages of the mummy. At first these would be masks made from painted plaster, then in encaustic on wooden panels or in tempera on white plaster. Afterwards the portraits of the dead began to be woven on the loom. This technique probably dates from the fourth century, when burial replaced mummification. This portrait represents the face of a man. The colouring of the skin is imitated by using ochre-coloured wool;. the eyes, eyebrows and hair are in black wool. The frontal representation and the rendering of the features with a few black and red lines are characteristic of the Coptic style.