Definition of cartonnage in English:



  • An ancient Egyptian mummy case made of tightly fitting layers of linen or papyrus glued together.

    • ‘It was found in the cartonnage of an Egyptian mummy, the flexible layer of fibre or papyrus which was moulded while wet into a plaster-like surface around the irregular parts of a mummified wrapped body, so that motifs could be painted on.’
    • ‘It is a rare example of a cartonnage face mask, made of waste papyrus or linen soaked in plaster, similar to papier maché, with a painted or gilded surface.’
    • ‘So tombs are thrown open, the cartonnage stripped from the mummified corpses of crocodiles and people, the plaster-stained papyri scanned with restless eyes - the body thus laid bare a curio, nothing more.’
    • ‘The mask, made of cartonnage - layers of linen and papyrus stiffened with plaster - is one of only three masks to have survived which were worn by the living as opposed to those like Tutankhamen's gold mask designed for the dead.’


Mid 19th century: French.