Cartonnage was a material used to shroud mummies, as well as to make masks and panels on which to paint. It involved layering fibres or papyrus to create an even and smooth surface, and cutting particular layers to produce the desired shape. Plaster was then added on top, and, when it had dried, the cartonnage was brightly painted with elaborate patterns. These usually consisted of geometric shapes, deities, and inscriptions. Cartonnage enjoyed widespread use from the First Intermediate Period all the way into the Roman era.
Egyptian Cartonnage Jewel
A fragmentary jewel encrusted with coloured stones, which would have originally been part of a cartonnage. The plaster has been carefully gilded, much of which remains intact, and the vibrant stones are light blue and red-orange in colour. The reverse shows the remains of linen, where the jewelled section would have been affixed to the cartonnage. The piece takes the form of a slightly pear-shaped circle, with many raised, gilded circles adding further dimension and detail to the piece.
Period: Roman Egypt
Condition: Fine condition.