Mummy foot case
Height x width: 19 x 20.3 cm (7 1/2 x 8 in.)
Medium or Technique
Egyptian Funerary Arts Gallery (Mummies) (Gallery 109)
Painted on the top of this cartonnage foot case is a pair of sandaled feet with gilded toenails. Along the side and front panels is a design of geometric rosettes bordered by vertical stripes. The soles of the sandals are painted on the underside of the foot case. Enclosed within the left sole is a depiction of an Asiatic; on the right is a depiction of a Nubian. This motif represents the trampling of Egypt’s enemies underfoot.
Thin bootlike coverings of cartonnage often encased the wrapped feet of Roman mummies. The depictions of feet in a permanent material ensured the deceased’s ability to stand upright, and to come and go in the Netherworld. Bound within the outline of each sandal sole is a representation of one of the traditional enemies of the state of Egypt. The figure on the underside of the right foot depicts a brown-skinned Nubian, that on the left shows a pink-skinned Asiatic. This motif of the trampling of enemies underfoot was traditionally employed only for the king, but was put to use during the Roman Period as a powerful magical spell for vindication in the Netherworld.
By 1971, with Mathias Komor, New York; purchased by the MFA from Mathias Komor, May 12, 1971.
Arthur Mason Knapp Fund