Mummy foot case

Egyptian
Greco-Roman Period
A.D. 100–199


Dimensions

Height x width: 19 x 20.3 cm (7 1/2 x 8 in.)

Accession Number

1971.217

Medium or Technique

Painted cartonnage

On View

Egyptian Funerary Arts Gallery (Mummies) (Gallery 109)

Collections

Africa and Oceania, The Ancient World

Classifications

Mummy trappings

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.

[Alternate Text:]
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.

Provenance

By 1971, with Mathias Komor, New York; purchased by the MFA from Mathias Komor, May 12, 1971.

Credit Line

Arthur Mason Knapp Fund