of men, painted in wax on wooden panels from Hawara and dating to the Mid-2nd century AD.
The hairstyles in these
portraits show the influence of fashions set by the Imperial family in Rome. The
men's styles in the images followed the Emperors contemporary fashion, well
known from coins and statues, whereas those of the provincial women may not have
reflected contemporary Roman fashion so closely.
The people depicted in
these portraits represent Greeks, Egyptians and those of other
Mediterranean origin. They occurred in the Faiyum at a period when there
was a large, prosperous population of immigrants who included veteran
soldiers and those engaged in commerce.
These portraits were
probably painted by itinerant artists living in the Faiyum. The panel,
made up of cypress, lime or sycamore wood, was prepared with a ground of
gypsum plaster or plaster of whiting and glue. The portrait was roughly
sketched on this in black or red paint. The paint, made from natural
mineral or vegetable pigments, wax then applied. As a medium for the
paint, either water and an adhesive material were used or, more often,
the pigment was ground and mixed with wax.