Mummy Portrait of Sarapon



Mummy Portrait of Sarapon


ca. 2nd Century AD


Roman Period
Egypt, Fayum


Wax, wood
13 1/4 x 16 1/2 in. (33.7 x 41.9 cm)

Object Number



Although the practice of mummification continued during the Roman Period, the decoration of the body underwent significant changes, the most striking being the replacement of the mummy mask with a painted panel. Instead of an idealized mask traditionally modeled in plaster or cartonnage, a wood panel was inserted into the mummy wrappings. The face and shoulders of the deceased were rendered in encaustic, a pigmented wax, or tempera, in a more natural, Hellenistic style. There is evidence that these portraits were executed well before the death of the individual, and even displayed in the home. The majority of the panels have been excavated in the Fayum region, resulting in the somewhat inaccurate modern designation "Fayum portrait." This portrait represents a young man, wearing a white tunic, with a mass of curly black hair. His face has the softness of youth, emphasized by the full, almost sensuous mouth. The eyes are large, wide-set, and heavily rimmed, with an arresting gaze. The label to the right gives his names as Sarapon, son of Haresas. The shape of the label mimics that of a so-called "mummy tag", a marker attached to the body, usually made of wood, inscribed with the name and filiations of the deceased.

Credit Line

Gift of Mohamed Farid Khamis and Oriental Weavers


Philadelphia Museum of Art, 1950s|
From Pharaohs to Emperors: New Egyptian and Classical Antiquities at Emory, Michael C. Carlos Museum, January 14 - April 2, 2006|
MCCM Permanent Collection Reinstallation, 2006 - Present


© Michael C. Carlos Museum, Emory University. Photo by Bruce M. White, 2008.
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On View



“Mummy Portrait of Sarapon,” Michael C. Carlos Museum Collections Online, accessed September 18, 2020,

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