Mummy mask of a man

This mummy mask of an Ancient Egyptian High Official dates from the late 18th Dynasty.

We can be assured of this man’s status by the double collared necklace adorning the top of his broad usekh collar. These pieces were handed out by the king himself in a grand ceremony, often depicted with pride within the tombs of their receivers, such as Ay and Horemheb before they would both become kings. They were usually gold, and were referred to as the “Gold of Honour“.

Mummy mask of a man
Mummy mask of a man. The Art & History Museum, Brussels. Inv. E.6884

This mummy mask is made from stucco, fabric with inlaid glass eyes and brows. The face is serene, as he smiles at you from eternity. The lotus blossom adorned upon his head, certifying his spiritual status. His usekh collar is grand, showcasing his status. His “Gold of Honour” is in full view, telling us he was a man of importance, and held status in the king’s eye. The “Gold of Honour” would have been given to him by the king himself.

Mummy mask of a man
Mummy mask of a man. The Art & History Museum, Brussels. Inv. E.6884

The rich pigments of the paint still remain 3000 years later. The detail of the beaded wig, despite some damage, is still strikingly realistic and maintains its black pigment. The man has pierced earlobes. It is thought that men would usually have one ear pierce per lobe, whereas women would usually have two. However, this is not a certification for all.

The glass stone eyes add a realistic touch to the mask. With the light catching upon the eyes of the mask, you would sense life within their glisten. The brows have suffered some damage, with inlay missing, alas the paint underneath still remains making the damage almost unnoticeable.

Ay recieving the "Gold of Honour" from king Akhenaten.
Ay recieving the “Gold of Honour” from king Akhenaten.
Photograph by D. Denisenkov

Mummy mask with inlaid eyes, of a High Official wearing the “Gold of Honour”
New Kingdom, 18th Dynasty, c. 1331-1292 B.C.
The Art & History Museum, Brussels. Inv. E.6884