Fragment of a mummy cartonnage

Title Fragment of a mummy cartonnage
School Egypt
Date 1 millennium BC.
Material linen
Conservator(s) Ludmila Sinitsyna
Workshop Objects Conservation

A fragment of a cartonnage (Ancient Egypt, 1,000 BC) came in for restoration in several fragmented pieces. The multilayered linen fabric base, covered in a primer with a paint layer, had numerous tears. The fabric was weathered and peeled at the edges of the pieces. All pieces were deformed, especially along the edges and at the tear points. Paint layer with primer was peeling from the base, it was very dirty, and it was not only dust: there were stains, smudges and deposits which not only covered the paint, but also penetrated deep into the paint layer and partially damaged it. It is possible that part of it was ritual embalming impregnation of the mummy that got on the surface or later made its way through.
To join the pieces together, painstaking and time-consuming work was done to straighten each piece to fit the seams together. Each seam was lined with strips of canvas from the back to make it stronger. The task of joining the pieces of the cartonnage in such a way that it retained its anthropomorphic shape (the outline of a mummy) presented a certain challenge.
The paint layer with primer was consolidated, dirt was removed, and stains and deposits were removed as much as possible. At the seams of the glued pieces, a restoration primer was applied and retouched to match the overall shade. The restored piece was placed on a form-fitting stand.