Coffin Portraits

  • Funerary Customs & Traditions
  • 1 min

By Crusader1307

With examples going back to ''Roman Egypt'' (1st Century AD), a ''Coffin Portrait'' was a stylized painting of the deceased. It was shaped to fit onto the front of one's Coffin (closed), and was used to show ''what'' the deceased looked like before death. In later Centuries, once a body was suitably mummified, these painting would be placed over the face (serving the same purpose). Some versions made were of extremely fine and elaborate craftsmanship. Often inlaid with precious medals and jewels, these portraits were great works of Art. With the majority of Ancient Roman-Egyptian examples so well preserved due to climate (and sealed tombs), most look as they did when painted. The portraits were painted on wood, plaster and metal sheets. The style of Coffin Portraits would continue as a Funerary Art Form well into the 19th Century AD in some Countries (mostly in Eastern and Central Europe). The style was seen as expensive, so only the wealthy could afford them. Unlike Mourning Portraits, these were to be left with The Coffin (although some were kept out of grief).