Authentic Cartonnage Fragment. Hierogyphics. Coffin linen & papyrus. Circa 300 B.C. Sais, Ancient Egypt
Cartonnage is an Egyptology and Papyrology term used to describe plastered layers of fiber or papyrus . . . flexible enough (when wet) to mold around irregular surfaces such as a body, cases, coffins, masks during the funerary process. Such a finished flat surface allowed for painting of characters and motifs. Basically, the surface allowed detailed art to be drawn versus drawing on a linen shroud.
This cartonnage fragment is from the Late Period (circa 300 BCE) . . . around the time of the conquest by Alexander the Great and establishment of the Ptolemaic Kingdom. Cartonnage went through a transition during this time. Cartonnage for bodies – as well as other funerary elements and masks – was produced by using old papyrus scrolls and linen. It seems there was a shortage of fresh papyrus during this period.
Hieroglyphs combined syllabic, alphabetic and logographic elements to be used in religious literature. There were over 1,000 cursive hieroglyphs, an entire story in itself.
This piece came from an estate of a collector who worked in Egypt in the 1950s. Unfortunately, when he passed, his son trashed all his father’s documentation.
Luckily, the cartonnage is protected with sandwiched pieces of plexi (and clipped). It is in stable and in good condition.
This is one of those “once in a lifetime” acquisitions and I encourage you to examine it closely.