The Mummy Returns – Quest for Immortality

January 7, 2010 at 2:01 pm | Posted in itchy mouth | Leave a comment
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After the previous night’s countdown party, Itchyfingers didn’t expect so many people could still wake up and turn up 10 am at the National Museum on New Year Day. Guess the free entrance was too good an offer to sleep in especially if you have a big family…hahah…We were just 10 minutes late and found ourselves queuing up at the escalator to the basement gallery. In the end, we spent an hour in the queue before getting another surprise of the day – photography was allowed but no flash! This was totally unexpected, cos previous blockbuster exhibitions like the Greek Masterpieces from the Louvre or Kangxi Emperor Exhibition did not allow photography at all, though we saw on paper that they allowed it on the last day of the Greek Masterpieces…so unfair.

I only had my old camera with a half-filled memory card and half-drained set of batteries with me. But we couldn’t just go back to the car and get Tisu Boy’s camera. Too bad…We were directed by the guard to start from the right entrance to the exhibit, where the mummies were. But when we were done, we realised we should start from the left actually…guess they were just trying to distribute the crowd evenly…

I remembered years ago there was an exhibition on Egypt and they also brought in mummy. Can’t remember if they showed the mummy itself or just the coffin (cos no photography allowed :O) but there was some description of the process of mummification. So this would be the second time mummies return to Singapore, naturally Itchyfingers would like to see them! And yes! The first thing we turned in from the right we saw the mummies! But there were also lotsa people crowding around, taking pictures…


The first coffin we saw…after more than 2,000 years, the paints were
still visible…


The lower half of the coffin…they even painted on it…

Then come the highlight….the mummy of this coffin…a linen wrapped mummy!


This was so different from what I expected to see…mummy with bandages
wrapped all over
…:p This is the mummy of Nekhet-iset-aru. The linen
and bandages have been partially torn, so they are not in their original
position…


The mummy was covered with a net of beads. Winged Scarab Beetles were
often part of the beaded design or made separately and stitched onto the
net. They served to protect the heart and were symbols of the sun god Khepri.
Scarab Beetles are common in Singapore, and they are the ones that
normally fly into the house…ooo..next time when one flies into your house,
better don’t kill it…
8)


During mummification, the bodies’ abdomens were opened and all organs,
except the heart, were removed and preserved in canopic jars like these.
The jar had the heads of four gods, who looked after the organs inside. The
falcon-headed Qebehsenuef (left) protects the intestines, while the jackal-
headed Duamutef (right) protects the stomach


The human-headed Imsety (left) protects the liver, while the baboon-headed
Hapy (right) protects the lungs. The brain, thought to be useless, was smashed
and pulled out through the nose with hooks, then discarded. It was also drained
through the nose after being liquefied with the same hooks. :O

I remember these jars from the movie, Mummy (1999). The resurrected mummy had to look for his preserved organs in order to return to human form…but with his brain gone…he’s just a brainless zombie…just like the show, brainless though entertaining…hahaha! 😀


The second coffin lid belonging to Padi-imen-em-ipet. Shown wearing a
wig and beard of a god indicates that he has become transfigured in the
afterlife


It was nice to be able to view from the top as well. You could see the winged
scarab on his chest here…


Two scenes of mummified body on the coffin lid


Jackals painted on the feet area of the coffin lid


The bottom half of the coffin, painted with a falcon-headed figure. The holes
at the edges are joints for the lid


Another one viewed from the top…this one didn’t have the beetle but
a winged goddess…


The winged figures protecting the mummy


X-rays and CT scans revealed that two other bodies contained within the
covering placed between her legs could be infants who just died before or
after birth, and may have been twins…I thought this looked very small…


The amulet in the shape of the scarab beetle, a symbol of rebirth after death


Interesting to find that they even painted the bandage for wrapping mummies!
This was part of the bandage fragment showing the spearing of a snake


I like this very graphical depiction of daily life…


Many animals are important in ancient Egypt. In the recent issue of the
National Geographic, mummies of baboons were featured (See last picture
here
) Most baboons were kept as pets, with canine teeth removed to keep
them from nipping royal fingers…ouch!

Animal mummies were produced by Egyptians for many reasons. On display were one cat mummy and two crocodile mummies which unfortunately were too dim for Itchyfingers‘ old camera to capture sharply… 😦


Hieroglyphics


Itchyfingers had a urge to use pencil to rub the carving on paper…hahah


The headgears on these looked like the people all had bumps on the head.. :p

Animals of all kinds were important to the ancient Egyptian. The Egyptians understood the animals’ characteristics and admired them, especially those that were dangerous or had powers human beings lacked.


Cats were both pets and symbols of cat gods such as Bast


A figure of Anubis, the Jackal-headed god


The lion-headed goddess Sekhmet

The labels at this particular section were especially user-unfriendly, as they were placed within the glass cabinets at both sides and one had to go closer and turn the head left and right to read, hence blocking others behind…On a crowded day, there were people admiring the pieces, reading the labels and taking photos, so you can imagine how long you have to wait before you get your chance to get closer…


Another full-sized lion-headed goddess


The ibis was sacred to the god of knowledge, who had the form of an
ibis-headed man


The god Horus (the god of the sky or sun,depicted with a human body and
a falcon head) and King Horemheb, an earthly incarnation of the god
Horus…You must see this…


The sphinxes


The lion devouring a bull. Unfortunately, the bull’s head was broken

On display were some interesting sculptures that looked like they had some European influence. By now our memory card was full and no longer able to take any more pictures. Overall, it is definitely an exhibition worth paying for, so Itchyfingers may consider a revisit to check out those exhibits that we might have overlooked. Quest for Immortality: The World of Ancient Egypt is now showing at the National Museum of Singapore until 4 April 2010. Do catch it on a less busy weekday if possible to avoid the crowd! 🙂

Also see related posts:
> Come See! Come See! Come See Before it’s Too Late! – The Kangxi Emperor Exhibition
> Attaining Immortality – Body Preservation
> Greek Masterpieces from the Lourve

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