2,000 year old mummy shroud on display at National Museums Scotland
A unique, full-length mummy shroud, which is over 2,000 years old yet is still in remarkable condition, has been discovered in National Museums Scotland’s collections. It will be displayed for the first time in The Tomb: Ancient Egyptian Burial, a new exhibition opening at the National Museum of Scotland on 31 March.
|Shroud conservation detail [Credit: National Museums Scotland]|
Dr Margaret Maitland, Senior Curator of Ancient Mediterranean collections found the folded shroud wrapped in brown parcel paper, with a note written by a past curator in a Second World War service envelope identifying the contents as having come from an ancient Egyptian tomb. The package had been stored since the mid-1940s.
|Brown parcel paper opened to reveal shroud [Credit: National Museums Scotland]|
Dr Margaret Maitland, Senior Curator, Ancient Mediterranean at National Museums Scotland said: “To discover an object of this importance in our collections, and in such good condition, is a curator’s dream. Before we were able to unfold the textile, tantalising glimpses of colourful painted details suggested that it might be a mummy shroud, but none of us could have imagined the remarkable figure that would greet us when we were finally able to unroll it. The shroud is a very rare object in superb condition and is executed in a highly unusual artistic style, suggestive of Roman period Egyptian art, yet still very distinctive.”
|Shroud is carefully unfolded [Credit: National Museums Scotland]|
This full-length, painted linen shroud is unique, with very few parallels from its period. It depicts the deceased as the god Osiris. Because of its owner’s direct relationship to Montsuef and Tanuat, whose deaths were recorded to have occurred in 9 BC, it is possible to date the shroud relatively precisely, which is extraordinary for such an ancient artefact.
|Bottom of shroud is unfolded [Credit: National Museums Scotland]|
It was undisturbed until its excavation in the 19th century when a collection of beautiful objects from various eras was discovered. The shroud is one of a number of objects from this tomb which are in National Museums Scotland’s collections. The Tomb: Ancient Egyptian Burial, which is sponsored by Shepherd and Wedderburn, will tell the story of this tomb across 1,000 years of use.
|Shroud unfolded [Credit: National Museums Scotland]|
Source: National Museum of Scotland [March 16, 2017]