22 February 2016
What I love about studying textiles is that it frequently leads me down fascinating avenues of exploration which I never would have imagined. When I took my son to the “Gifts for the Gods” exhibition at Manchester Museum this half term (1), I was not expecting to be so enthralled by the display of animal mummies.
It became apparent that the mummies were wrapped differently and and in distinctive ways, some in ‘chevron-like’ strips of linen, others in elaborate designs similar to log cabin patchwork. As the example below demonstrates, it is obvious that the wrappings had more significance than simply a casual covering for the preserved animal body (photo taken with permission at the Manchester museum).
Animal mummies can be prepared for one of several reasons:
- Votive specimens (i .e. as offerings to the gods)
- As ‘provisions’ for the dead, accompanying human burials
- To preserve the bodies of cherished pets into the after life
- Because they were living representatives of the gods
- “Gifts for the Gods, Animal mummies revealed”. Manchester Museum, 8 October 2015 – 17 April 2016. Available from: http://www.museum.manchester.ac.uk/whatson/exhibitions/giftsforthegods/
- Willian’s, A.R. (2009). “Animal mummies”. National Geographic, Nov 2009. Available from: http://ngm.nationalgeographic.com/2009/11/animal-mummies/williams-text/1 [Accessed 25 February 2016]
- Riggs, C. (2014) “Unwrapping ancient Egypt“. Bloomsbury. London.