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13 Fayum Mummy Portraits Egyptians Can All See Ourselves in

In Coptic era Egypt, the dead were venerated and their memories are immortalised in portraits attached to their mummified bodies. Here are 13 hauntingly beautiful ones we came across, courtesy of Vintage News.

You know how we Egyptians say our country is 'the mother of the world' only to have our seemingly dubious claim laughed off by everyone? Well now we have concrete proof that we Egyptians are an authority on all things civilisation and pure awesomeness. Before Picasso, we Egyptians laid the very foundation of the art of modern painting and we didn't even realise it because we're cool like that. The Fayum Mummy Paintings, which were discovered in the 19th century by British archaeologist W.M. Flinders Petrie, are history's earliest works of modernist paintings, dating back to 1st and 2nd centuries A.D., which marks the period of Imperial Rome's rule of Egypt, according to Smithsonian Magazine.

The portraits were painted on wood panels each attached to a mummy, so as to put a face to the deceased and immortalise them with an exquisite piece of enduring art. “The Fayum portraits have an almost disturbing lifelike quality and intensity,” artist and author of The Mysterious Fayum Portraits Euphrosyne Doxiadis told Smithsonian Magazine. “The illusion, when standing in front of them, is that of coming face to face with someone one has to answer to—someone real.

Today, around 1,000 Fayum mummy paintings are scattered across museums in Egypt, the Louvre, the British and Petrie museums in London, the Metropolitan and Brooklyn museums, and the Getty in California, just to name a few.

Ever wonder what our ancestors looked like and whether their physical features have been passed down to us? With a little (read: a lot!) of help from Vintage News, we put together the following list.