1-2pm (UK) / 2-3pm (Egypt)

This talk will approach Ptolemaic cartonnage masks from a manufacturing point of view. These funerary artefacts were produced by layering textiles – or reused papyrus sheets – with plaster and glue. Despite the use of the same basic components, the process of manufacture could vary depending on shape, size, time and place. We will try to clarify the production methods and the different phases of manufacture, as well as contextualise a group of masks curated by the British Museum. To provide a better understanding of their production, we will examine these masks layer by layer, using different imagery techniques, such as X-ray, CT and surface scanning. We will consider the use of a mould to shape the face from inside, the layering of textile, the application of gesso to strengthen the mask or to sculpt features, and finally the decorative layer of paints and gilding.

Marie Vandenbeusch is a Project Curator in the Department of Egypt and Sudan at the British Museum, responsible for curating international touring exhibitions, such as Egyptian mummies. Exploring ancient lives and Pharaoh, King of Egypt. Her research interests include funerary and magical practices in ancient Egypt, with a special focus on the study of mummies and material culture.

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