Here we try to explore and examine how Hawara has inspired, influenced and informed history and culture in Egypt and elsewhere.
The site of Hawara had a sustained influence on many civilisations throughout history. Its mysteries and discoveries a like have left a legacy and have impacted on archaeology, art history, architecture and on popular culture, amongst others.
More to follow...
Mummy portrait of a man. Excavated by Petrie, 1888. Courtesy of The Walters Art Museum
The Fayum region was always of importance to the rulers of ancient Egypt. It is during the Middle Kingdom (2055-1650 BC), that the Fayum region rose in importance. The first king of the Twelfth Dynasty, Amenemhat I, relocated the principal royal residence to Itj-tawy, probably modern Lisht just north of the Fayum.
Alongside work on the pyramid and labyrinth, Petrie discovered a Roman necropolis to the north of the pyramid which yielded the now world famous painted mummy portraits. Petrie’s discovery lead to several western excavators visiting Hawara in search of more mummy portraits.
These enigmatic portraits give us an insight into Graeco-Roman funerary practices in the Fayoum and allow the viewer to look directly in the face the elite inhabitants of the region.
The portraits have left a lasting legacy on archaeology, art and culture. It is thought that Oscar Wilde was inspired to write The Picture of Dorian Gray after seeing mummy portraits from Hawara on display in London. (Image courtesy of the MET Museum, New York).