Portrait of a Woman from Hawara in the Fayum Basin

Portrait of a Woman from Hawara in the Fayum Basin

Date ca. 110-130 CE

Movement Roman

Medium Encaustic on wooden panel

Provenance Hawara in the Fayum Basin, Egypt

Housed at Royal Museum of Scotland

 

In the Egyptian style, this panel portrait would have been placed over an embalmed mummy. However, the subject’s appearance is clearly Roman: rows of black ringlets compose her hair, she wears an abundance of fine jewelry, and a crimson tunic drapes her figure. These details are all the more vivid given the encaustic medium, as bold pigments shine through the wax upon which they were placed.