Chapter

Divine Creatures: Animal Mummies

Salima Ikram

in Divine Creatures

Published by American University in Cairo Press

Published in print April 2005 | ISBN: 9789774248580
Published online January 2012 | e-ISBN: 9781936190010 | DOI: http://dx.doi.org/10.5743/cairo/9789774248580.003.0001
Divine Creatures: Animal Mummies

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For most people mummies are synonymous with Egypt. However, it is less well known that the ancient Egyptians mummified animals as well as humans. For the ancient Egyptians, the act of mummification ensured that the body of a creature would be preserved forever, and thus they conferred the potential for eternal life upon it. Throughout history, however, animal mummies, like their human counterparts, had little value as artifacts. Many animal mummies have survived, and are now valued as sources of information on the culture and environment of ancient Egypt. Broadly speaking, animal mummies can be divided into four different types: beloved pets, buried with their owners; victual mummies, consisting of funerary food offerings for humans; sacred animals, worshiped during their lifetime and mummified with pomp upon their death; and votive mummies, dedicated as offerings at the shrines of specific gods to whom these animals were sacred.

Keywords: Egypt; animal mummies; beloved pets; victual mummies; sacred animals; votive mummies

Chapter.  6091 words.  Illustrated.

Subjects: Society and Culture

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