Mummy board painting of two brothers from Faiyum, c. 30 B.C. – 2nd Century A.D.
These mummy board painting of two brothers, commonly known as ‘Faiyum Portraits’ due to being found in the town of Faiyum, were realistic portraits placed over the mummified dead. It is thought that perhaps they show the deceased at their best, possibly even portraits hung in houses previously to death. However, that is not certified, just a theory.
These portraits were essentially used as a replacement of death or mummy masks. Egyptians had taken on the realistic portrait style of their current rulers and intertwined it with their ancient religious practices, seemingly. Instead of death masks, these wooden boards with images of the dead would be placed over the body and wrapped into place.
In this particular portrait, the brothers are in Roman garb, a signature can be seen on the left-hand side, two golden statues in the background of deities. Noticeably, a swastika is upon one brother’s shoulder. Despite this Greco-Roman iconography, they have been mummified, an Egyptian practice.
Despite the internet rife with theories about the Faiyum portraits, mostly politically driven pseudo history, modern analysis shows that the Faiyum portraits were in fact Egyptian people. There is a DNA continuation in comparison to those mummified with ‘Faiyum portraits’, to those with the usual death masks, and even to those Egyptians of earlier years.
The Egyptians, despite foreign rules, were not subjected to an ethnic cleansing whatsoever.