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Fayum Mummy Portrait of a Man with Curly Hair and Beard*

Photo credit: Freud Museum London

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This painted portrait on wooden board acted as a ‘death mask’ to be bound to its subject after mummification and before burial. The identity of the sitter portrayed here is unknown. The purpose of the mask was to preserve the deceased’s image after death. The portraits would often be painted during a person’s lifetime and displayed in the home until they died, meaning subjects were immortalised at their most youthful and attractive. The vivid colours were made from hot beeswax mixed with coloured pigments painted onto a wooden board.

Freud Museum London



AD 250–300


tempera on wood


H 35.6 x W 19.1 cm

Accession number


Acquisition method

acquired by Sigmund Freud

Work type



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Freud Museum London

20 Maresfield Gardens, London, Greater London NW3 5SX England

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