Tuesday, July 5

the mummies

The Zweeloo woman, named after the village in the Netherlands where she was discovered by a peat cutter in 1951, was about 35 years old and 5 feet, 6 inches tall ... her last meal consisted of porridge of millet, rye, barley, oats and blackberries.*

I find mummies so heartbreakingly beautiful because the people are there, they existed, and they still exist. They were. They are. It's the craziest link of where we came from, what we did, and how similar we are to past civilizations. This is why I go to natural history museums.

This female mummy from Peru was found with one child on her abdomen, and a second child beneath her head: It is possible that the child under the woman's head was buried at the same time as the woman...the other child was placed with the woman some 200 years after her death.*

The ancient Egyptian mummy with blue faience amulets and gold leaf on his hands. The crocodile and ibis mummies. The scatterings of amulets, never meant to be seen.

This is a very private experience.

Ushabtis are small figurines that were placed in the tomb with the mummy. The word ushabti means "answerer"...*

The 6,500 year old south american baby buried with the amulet in his linens. It was still hidden somewhere close to him, where it was carefully placed 1,000 years before the advent of mummification in Egypt. Since the advent of CT scans and X-rays, they can look inside without unwrapping anything. Somebody loved him.

I could take away the descriptions, the scientific facts. But I couldn't take away with me the intense blue of the amulets, the blond curls of the early Christian child peeping from his cap, the wooden horse figure buried with him, its red paint rubbed off.

The 5,000 year old man, dubbed Otzi, discovered on the Similaun mountain on the Austrian-Italian border. Various items were found with the mummified man, including a backpack made of wood and fur...*

*quotes from the mummy exhibit