Mummy Faience Bead Mask


Detailed information of ArtWork


Mummy Faience Bead Mask

Faience beads

Dim: 16 x 16 cm

This mask, delineated by three fringes of white, red and black beads, clearly highlights the anatomical details connected with the senses: the ears, the eyes with the black irises, the nose and the mouth made of red beads. The turquoise background is characteristic of “Egyptian” faience. A necklace composed of horizontal rows adorns the neck.

As was already the case during the Old and the Middle Kingdom, the wealthy Egyptians of the Late Period started again to adorn their mummies with a net composed of hundreds of multicolored faience beads: these rich and elaborate adornments varied depending on the financial possibilities of the deceased. Some nets might therefore include semiprecious stones and gold-leafed ornaments in addition to the faience elements.

This adornment was as a rectangular cloth that covered the whole body of the mummy, aside from the head (usually hidden by a large face mask).

Most often, the nets included various decorative patterns, which were carefully chosen because of their prophylactic meaning in the framework of Egyptian funerary beliefs: the winged scarab, the usekh necklace, the mourning Isis, the geniuses called the “four sons of Horus”, the face (like our example) representing the goddess Nut, goddess of the Sky, who offered food and drink to the deceased.

The nets were composed of turquoise faience beads, while the decorative patterns were polychromatic: the faces might be turquoise blue, yellow, white or, more rarely, red.

The face mask is complete and in very good condition. Only small elements of the net are preserved on the left of the jaw and neck.

Unique work



Genève Switzerland

Rue Etienne-Dumont 9, Geneva, Switzerland