Egyptian gods and goddesses decorate this fragment from a set of painted panels laid over a mummy. The coverings protected the physical part of the body while the gods protected its spirit.
When this panel was made, Egyptian priests had been practicing mummification for nearly three millennia. On older coffins and mummy covers, labels written in hieroglyphs often named the gods depicted. Here pink rectangles above the heads of the gods are reminders of this custom. By the late Ptolemaic period, fewer scribes were available who knew hieroglyphs, so the artists left the labels blank. This is an interesting example of the way traditions were carried over even when their original intention could not be fulfilled.
Tempera on plaster, backed with cloth
Gift of Helen Griggs
ID Number: SC 1920:7-1