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Work Cartonnage of Ankhpakhered, a barber of Amun

Department of Egyptian Antiquities: Religious and funerary beliefs

Enveloppe de la momie de Ânkhpakhéred

© Musée du Louvre/G. Poncet

Egyptian Antiquities
Religious and funerary beliefs

Rigault Patricia

This brightly colored cartonnage contained the mummy of an Egyptian named Ankhpakhered. It depicts the deceased wrapped in his shroud. A floral band wraps around the tripartite wig. Two falcons, with extended wings and wearing sun disk crowns, are placed just below the wide necklace covering his chest; one has a ram's head. The rest of the cartonnage is decorated with various protective images, predominantly goddess's wings and Osirian emblems.

The decor

The deceased is wrapped in a lavishly decorated shroud decorated with symbolical images that are meant to ensure a safe passage to the afterlife. These figures are common on cartonnages from this period; they are often decorated with a profusion of winged deities and divine fetishes.
The two falcons under the necklace, one with a ram's head, are wearing sun disk crowns and extend their wings in a protective gesture over Ankhpakhered's body. Two symmetrical scenes between their wings portray the god of the dead, Orisis, followed by the four sons of Horus, opposite two upright serpents, wearing the red and white crowns of Egypt, respectively. A major Osirian symbol appears on the legs: the reliquary of Abydos, itself protected by the winged goddesses Isis and Nephtys. This reliquary image, topped with a double ostrich feather, was supposed to have held the head of Osiris, located in the city of Abydos. This is one of the most frequently used images in funerary iconography from this era.


Cartonnage, a common funerary technique in the 22nd Dynasty

During the 22nd Dynasty, mummies were commonly placed in a cartonnage, in other words, a covering consisting of fabric held together by gum that was then stuccoed and painted. The term "cartonnage" used for this funerary material therefore refers both to the object itself and the type of material used. It generally consisted of several layers of glued linen, sometimes with the addition of old papyri, which were then coated in stucco and painted. This process offered a certain number of advantages as it was fast and inexpensive. During the 22nd Dynasty, cartonnages were shaped around a core consisting of mud and straw, with an opening at the base of the feet and sometimes a slit in the back. When all the cloth had been applied, the core was removed from the base of the feet. Once the mummy was placed within the cartonnage, it was tied up at the back, and a wood plank plugged the base. The décor could then be painted. The entire object was then placed in one or two wooden coffins, most of which were rather austere - as, for example, Ankhpakhered's coffin, which is exhibited next to his cartonnage.

Ankhpakhered, a barber of Amun

Barbers worked in the private sector, for kings, or even, as in Ankhpakhered's case, within the temple walls. He was the Amun temple barber and therefore probably worked in the temple of the great god of Karnak. Egyptian priests had to be completely clean-shaven; this was therefore this barber's responsibility.


- Coiffures antiques du Louvre, 1982, p. 13, 14, n 12.

- MICHALOWSKI , L'art de l'Ancienne Egypte, 1968, fig. 735.

Technical description

  • Enveloppe de la momie de Ânkhpakhéred

    22e dynastie, 945 - 715 avant J.-C.

  • toile agglomérée et peinte

    H. : 1,66 m. ; L. : 0,40 m.

  • N 2622

  • Egyptian Antiquities

    Sully wing
    Ground floor
    Room 14
    Vitrine 2 : Cercueils

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