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Plaster Cast of a Face: E.GA.5503.1943

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Object information

Current Location: Gallery 24


Plaster Cast of a Face




Plaster cast of a male face, probably representing a Nubian/African.

Plaster cast of a male face, which appears to have been taken from a person. The face is broad and flat with a short but broad nose and high cheek bones all of which suggest that the person was of Black African descent. It is likely that a wax layer was placed on the person's face in order to create a mould; plaster was then poured into the mould and was smoothed off at the rear to produce a realistic representation of the person's features. The mouth seems to have been added later and is formed from a simple cut into the plaster. It is not clear whether the mask was taken during the man's lifetime, or after death. Such objects are not common due the the fragile nature of the plaster and also the fact that these images were most likely used by a sculptor as a model and so later disgarded. There are other examples from the Amarna Period that were found in an abandoned sculptor's workshop in the capital city. However, many such objects seem to be more stylised and so are unlikely to represent a true image of a person. There are exceptions in addition to the Fitzwilliam Museum's plaster head. Such images of Black Africans are important because they show that many Egyptians in Ancient Egypt were what we today would call Black.

Measurements and weight

Depth: 7.7 cm
Length: 20 cm
Width: 15.2 cm

Find spot

Acquisition and important dates

Method of acquisition: Given (1943) by Gayer-Anderson, R. G. (Major)


Amarna period
Circa -1352 BCE - Circa -1336 BCE

Materials used in production


Techniques used in production

Cast (process)

Identification numbers

Accession number: E.GA.5503.1943
Primary reference Number: 59178
Oldadmincategory: SU
Stable URI

Audit data

Created: Saturday 6 August 2011 Updated: Tuesday 25 February 2020 Last processed: Wednesday 24 March 2021

Associated departments & institutions

Owner or interested party: The Fitzwilliam Museum
Associated department: Antiquities

Citation for print

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The Fitzwilliam Museum (2023) "Plaster Cast of a Face" Web page available at: Accessed: 2023-02-01 23:59:14

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{{cite web|url= |title=Plaster Cast of a Face |author=The Fitzwilliam Museum|accessdate=2023-02-01 23:59:14|publisher=The University of Cambridge}}

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