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Work Gilded cartonnage of the lady Tasheret-pa-ankh

Department of Egyptian Antiquities: The final Pharaonic dynasties and the Ptolemaic period (circa 1069 - 30 BC)

"Cartonnage" qui enveloppait la momie de la dame Tachéretpaânkh

© 1995 RMN / René-Gabriel Ojéda

Egyptian Antiquities
The final Pharaonic dynasties and the Ptolemaic period (circa 1069 - 30 BC)

Author(s):
David Elisabeth

The lady Tasheret-pa-ankh was surely no ordinary person: her mummy had a protective casing entirely covered in gold leaf, a cartonnage composed of several layers of plastered linen. This is a fine example of Egyptian funerary equipment of the Greek period. It is decorated in relief with religious scenes and ritual and biographical inscriptions.

An elaborate protective covering

Consisting originally of three parts, the cartonnage is today missing the foot. The head is continuous with the broad collar with its ten rows of motifs terminating on the shoulders in a band of snakes. The eyes and eyebrows were originally inlaid, doubtless in blue. Over the wig is a headband covered in hieroglyphs: the text speaks of "fastening the crown of justification."
The part covering the torso and legs depicts religious scenes. The upper panel shows a procession of divinities against a temple background. One sees Isis in the middle; Horus attacking with his spear an enemy on the ground; Nut, goddess of the sky, recognizable by the vessel she carries on her head; Atum, the creator sun-god, wearing the double crown; and dog-headed Anubis. Below this frieze is a representation of the kneeling Isis, whose wings stretch across the middle of the deceased's body.
Four registers covering the whole of the upper legs show the funeral, resurrection, and purification of Tasheret-pa-ankh, identified with Osiris.

Costly decoration

Depending on the part of the body, the cartonnage consists of from two to six or seven layers of linen fabric. The edge has holes for fastening it to the mummy. The relief decoration was applied with a brush over a preparatory drawing in red ocher, and then gilded. The gold leaf is in squares of four and a half to five centimeters, and different qualities of gold were used. The purest was applied over the face, over a reddish ground. The gold on the body, applied over a yellow ground, is alloyed with silver (up to 22 percent) and copper.

An unknown woman

The owner of this sumptuous cartonnage is a complete unknown. The names of her parents offer no clue, though the father's name is uncommon. The texts running in vertical columns along the body refer to no divinity and mention no city. All they tell us is that Tasheret-pa-ankh lived seventy-four years. The correspondence between Auguste Frènay, who sold the cartonnage to the Louvre, and the Egyptologist Gaston Maspero, around 1890, does however suggest that this woman had been buried in the Akhmim area.

Bibliography

G. ANDREU, M. H. RUTSCHOWSCAYA, C. ZIEGLER, L'Egypte au Louvre, Hachette, Paris, 1997, p. 208-209, notice n 107.

E. DAVID, Gaston Maspero, Paris, 1990, p. 150

S. COLINART, E. DELANGE, "Dorure des sarcophage de l'Egypte ancienne", Techné n 43.

Technical description

  • "Cartonnage" qui enveloppait la momie de la dame Tachéretpaânkh

    IIIe - Ier siècle avant J.-C.

  • étoffe agglomérée, stuquée et dorée

    l. : 1,42 m. ; L. : 0,60 m.

  • E 10479

  • Egyptian Antiquities

    Sully wing
    1st floor
    From the last Egyptian pharaohs to Cleopatra, 404–30 BC
    Room 30
    Vitrine 12 : Mobilier funéraire

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