The latest installment of "The Mummy" - Tomb of the Dragon Emperor - failed to kick the latest installment of Batman - The Dark Knight - off its top box office position in the Unites States, but it unwrapped a convincing box office victory overseas. This proves that 5000 years after mummies were invented they are still popular.
Photoshop what life would be like if mummies ruled the world. Some examples are - photoshop celebrities and politicians into living mummies (not zombies!) - wrap them up and age them, turn any movies into mummy movies, show mummies in paintings, politics, etc.
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This contest is fueled by the following news: Mummy is a body, preserved by embalming method. Body (not only of human being but also of any another living creature), subjected to special chemical treatment as a result of which decomposition process of tissues either ceased or slowed down, is called Mummy. It is necessary to distinguish artificially and naturally mummified bodies.
Emergence of mummification in Egypt
Mummification of dead bodies was popular from very ancient times. Until recently, it is believed that the earliest artificially mummified bodies are finds from early dynastic (approximately dating back to period: 3000 — 2600 BC) necropolis of Abydos, Saqqare and Tarchan. However, archeological excavations in 1997 season by Anglo-American expedition in Hieraconpolis allowed in concluding the origination of mummification in Egypt. Archeologists found certain intact female burial places. Their heads, neck and hands were wrapped in flax and bast mat. By going according to burial records, researchers could date this back to Nakad -II (about 3600 BC). According to circumstantial data, some scientists conclude in beginning of mummification very long ago. So, for example, Australian Egyptologist Yana Jones believes that mummification was used already during an epoch of Badarian archaeological culture, i.e approximately 4500 — 4100 BC. Though, as researcher notices, here it is difficult to confirm whether wrapping of dead body is simply a burial ritual or is it mummification.
According to ancient Egyptian sources, it is very difficult to reconstruct the stages of mummification process. Reports of ancient authors — Herodotus, Plutarch, Diodoros and some others can help here. Written sources are supplemented with studies of mummies.
Dead bodies were handed over for treatment to embalming specialists. During ancient travellers, mummification process already fairly rapidly degraded in comparison with embalming art of New kingdom but even this is sufficient for Egyptologists to reconstruct the process.
Herodotus informs that embalming specialist offers various mummification methods to the relatives of dead body and the relatives, taking their financial condition into consideration, select the most reasonable. After discussing all the conditions, specialists are given the work:
“At first, the specialists take out the brain through nostrils using an iron hook. This method is used only for brain part and remaining portion – by injecting dissolving drugs. Then, a cut is made in groin with a sharp Ethiopian stone and entire abdominal cavity is cleared from contents. After clearing the abdominal cavity and cleaning it with palm wine, the embalmers once again clean the body with powder fragrances. At the end, embalmers fill the belly with pure pounded myrrh, and other aromas (except incense) and sew up the cut. After this, the body is kept for 70 days in liquid caustic soda. It is not advisable to keep the body for more than 70 days in liquid caustic soda. On completion of 70 day period, body is washed and wrapped in fine linen strips and resin is applied (it is used instead of gum)” (Herodotus, 2.86)
Organs, removed from corpses were neither thrown nor destroyed. The organs were also preserved. After taking out from the corpse, organs were washed and then immersed in special vessels with balm — Canopic jars. Total 4 Canopic jars were required for each mummy. Lids of Canopic jars, as a rule, were decorated with heads of 4 gods — sons of Horus. They are Hapi, having head of baboon; Duamutef, with jackal’s head; Qebehsenuef, having head of falcon and Imseti, with human head. Specific organs are kept in specific jars: Imseti stored liver, Duamutef —stomach, Qebehsenuef— intestines and Hapi preserved lungs.
Various types of mummies
Modern appearance of mummy vividly differs based on mummification technology, age, preservation conditions and other factors.
* Corpses, filled with resin have greenish shades and cutaneous covering is approximately same as tanned skin. It is very necessary to carefully handle such mummies since they either easily collapse or in literal sense, run out. Only bandages save them;
* Bodies, which were mummified with the use of bitumen, have black shade. Bitumen penetrates deep into tissues and mixes up with tissue in such a way that it would be very difficult to specify bitumen and bone fabric during visual inspection;
* Third type of mummies — Treated with the help of sodium salts (sulphates, carbonates etc.). These mummies are similar to medieval mummies of monks, for example, which are found on Malta or in Spain.
* Certain ancient Egyptian corpses were embalmed in honey. According to the legend, body of Alexander the Great was mummified “in white honey, which never thawed”;
* Some interesting and unusual individual finds of pre-dynastic and beginning of early dynastic periods: Corpses were simply plastered and painted. So, that “shell” remained and everything inside the shell — decayed.
Mummies outside Egypt:
* Dashi –Dorzho Itigilov;
* Vladimir Ilyich Lenin;
* Ukok Princess;
* Tarim mummies;
* Otzi, the Iceman;
Mummies in films
After finding the tomb of Tutankhamun, interest appeared towards Egyptian subjects. Premiere of horror film “Mummy” took place on December 22, 1932. Further, many continuations and remakes were made on this subject.