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Facing the Dead: Recent Research on the Funerary Art of Ptolemaic and Roman Egypt

Christina Riggs
American Journal of Archaeology
Vol. 106, No. 1 (Jan., 2002), pp. 85-101
DOI: 10.2307/507190
Stable URL: http://www.jstor.org/stable/507190
Page Count: 17
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Facing the Dead: Recent Research on the Funerary Art of Ptolemaic and Roman Egypt
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Abstract

In the 1990s, new scholarship, archaeological discoveries, and high-profile museum exhibitions marked a revived interest in the funerary art of Ptolemaic and Roman Egypt. Much of this art is characterized by the use of naturalistic portraiture, especially in the form of "mummy portraits" painted on wooden panels, and these two-dimensional portrait representations have received the bulk of scholarly attention. This article examines recent research on the subject and broadens the field of inquiry by addressing other forms of funerary art in use during the periods in question. It explores two particular issues, namely the mechanics of portraiture and the contested chronology of the corpus, and suggests further points for discussion so that the value of art historical evidence can be better realized in considerations of self-presentation and cultural identity.

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