Saturday, October 29, 2005

The Mummy

The Mummy

The Mummy (1999)

I'm feeling all wrapped up today. Think I'll go lie down...for a long long time.

Going head to toe, here's more than you really want to know from Clickable Mummy:

When a body was mummified the internal organs were usually preserved in some way. This was not true of the brain which was often just discarded. This was usually done by inserting a hook up the nose and using it to slice up and remove the brain tissue, with the cavity then being washed out. The reason for this treatment of the brain was that the Ancient Egyptians believed that it was the Heart which was where the "soul" lived.

The organs in the chest were preserved in varying ways as the mummification process evolved. Depending on the period, and the wealth of the dead person, various methods were used. Perhaps the most well known method was the use of Canopic Jars. These were used to hold the lungs, liver, stomach and intestines of the deceased. Initially these jars usually had lids which were either representations of the deceased, or of the four sons of Horus.

The treatment of limbs during the mummification process varied depending on the period and status of the deceased. After the body was dried out the fingers and toes were individually wrapped, then each limb was wrapped. During the drying process when the body was desiccated in Natron it was noted by the embalmers that the finger and toe nails could fall off. It later became common practice towards the end of the Middle Kingdom to tie the nails on. In some cases the removed and individually embalmed internal organs were packaged and placed between the mummies knees, secured by subsequent layers of wrapping. The wrappings themselves consisted of fine linen coated in resin, although the mummies of poorer individuals were wrapped in a variety of different materials. One set of bandages removed when a mummy was unwrapped were reconstructed into a complete square rigged sail.

At the peak of the mummification technique particular care was taken when preserving the hands and feet. In the late Middle Kingdom it even became common practice to tie the finger and toe nails securely in place before the body was covered in Natron to prevent them from falling off. A recent study as part of the NMS Mummy Project in Edinburgh involved detailed examination of a mummy which had been previously unwrapped. The body was found to be so well preserved that fingerprints were still visible. Another common practice in richer burials was to cover the fingers and toes in metal caps to preserve their look. King Tutankhamun had a full set of gold covers of this type which were discovered when the mummy was unwrapped by Howard Carter.

That's better hygiene than most of my still-living blind dates have. For example, this one

Excuse me.  Do you happen to have a scissors on you?

Have I mentioned I find you restrictive and confining? No?
[Photograph seen here]

could probably use one of those reality-show-based, extreme makeovers. But just shake off the dust and the sleep of centuries, and she's good as new. And then we can slip out for some fresh air during a quiet walk on the riverfront

I'm chilly.  Do you have a wrap I can borrow?

Looking chic in her new full body condom sarcophagus outfit.
[Photograph by Christopher League]

before meandering into a malt shop to sip formaldehyde through two straws. And when I drop her off on her doorstep, I'm hoping to maybe get a peck on the cheek from her Horus beak. Instead, she calls me "her little attendant" and mysteriously mumbles something about her "need for servants in the afterlife." When I ask for a clarification, she gives me a love tap with her hieroglyphic-inscribed staff and coos she doesn't want to "spoil the surprise." Her black cat, Isis, haughtily perched behind the windowpane, seems to be cruelly laughing at me. My date asks me in for a nightcap of cedar oil tea. Her place is dusty and somehow suffocating. Once inside, she meticulously turns each deadbolt with a decisive click.

1 comment:

Anonymous said...

Gaudy or polite
Or impish wisdom

Sharing the void
Cannot be avoided

Dr. Mike

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