Authentic Cartonnage Fragment Winged Isis. Coffin linen. Circa 300 B.C. Papyrus. 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.
Great mother Isis, the goddess of healing and magic, was crucial to ancient Egyptian religious beliefs. She is known today by her Greek name Isis; however, the ancient Egyptians called her Aset.
The wings of Isis symbolize female birds of prey (either falcons or kites) that have cries “reminiscent of the cries of distraught women”. They also represent the resurrective power of Isis, who fans her wings to give breath back to her dead husband, Osiris . . . and others.
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 has been sandwiched between two pieces of plexi and clipped and 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. No stands are included.