Mummy Wrapping of Petosiris, Son of Tetosiris (detail), Egyptian, 332–100 BC. Ink on linen. Getty Museum. Gift of Mr. and Mrs. H. P. Kraus

Art Break: “Unwrapping” the Book of the Dead at the Getty


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A fragment of linen inscribed and illustrated with spells from the Egyptian Book of the Dead once wrapped the mummified body of Petosiris, son of Tetosiris. Curatorial assistant Judith Barr and Egyptologist Heba Abd el Gawad discuss how such bandages were removed from tombs and collected in the 19th century. Fragments like this one are now found all over the world, compelling us to examine how we treat mummified ancient Egyptians today.

This program complements the exhibition The Egyptian Book of the Dead on view through January 29, 2024.

Judith Barr is a curatorial assistant in the Antiquities Department at the Getty Villa Museum, where she has been a part of the Antiquities Provenance Project since 2015. She holds an MSt in classical archaeology from the University of Oxford. Her research focuses on the history of the Getty’s collection and on documenting the 20th-century art market for antiquities.

Heba Abd el Gawad is an Egyptian heritage and museum specialist and a research fellow at the Institute of Archaeology, University College London. Heba specializes in the history of Egyptian archaeology and contemporary Egyptian perceptions and representations of ancient Egypt.

Learn more about the Book of the Dead in this overview by curator Sara E. Cole.

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