Manufacturing Divinity: The Technology of Mummification

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:
Manufacturing Divinity: The Technology of Mummification

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Work carried out on the animal mummies in the Egyptian Museum, as well as in other collections, shows that, like humans, animals were mummified in a variety of ways throughout Egyptian history. This chapter describes different methods employed for mummification. Mummification basically involves the evisceration and desiccation of the body. Desiccation is done using common salt or natron that draws out the bodily fluids leaving the dry husk. The second method of mummification involves the washing out of the intestines, and drying the body, using natron, before anointing and wrapping it. The third method of mummification uses no incision for evisceration. Rather, oil of cedar or pine was injected into the anus, the orifice plugged, and the liquid left to melt the viscera. A fourth method used on some animal mummies involved defleshing. A fifth variation on mummification involved the total immersion of live birds in vats of melted resin/pitch/bitumen.

Keywords: animal mummies; Egyptian Museum; mummification; natron; evisceration

Chapter.  9185 words.  Illustrated.

Subjects: Society and Culture

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