Go to the Egyptian Dreams shop
Egyptian Dreams
Ancient Egypt Discussion Board
 
 FAQFAQ   SearchSearch   MemberlistMemberlist   UsergroupsUsergroups   RegisterRegister 
 ProfileProfile   Log in to check your private messagesLog in to check your private messages   Log inLog in 

Mummy Feng Shui

 
Post new topic   Reply to topic    Egyptian Dreams Forum Index -> Mummification
View previous topic :: View next topic  
Author Message
kmt_sesh
Moderator
Moderator


Joined: 13 Nov 2004
Posts: 7099
Location: Chicago, IL

PostPosted: Wed Jul 13, 2005 12:28 am    Post subject: Mummy Feng Shui Reply with quote

Here's an interior design idea I've yet to see the folks at "Extreme Makeover: Home Edition" put to use.

As ancient Egypt continued into its Classical era and entered into the Roman Period, mummification reached an all-time low. The viscera were still sometimes removed from the flank of the body, but not commonly so. More common was simply dousing the corpse in copious quantities of molten resin. Emphasis was placed more on the outer wrappings, and these wrappings could be particularly complex and geometrical. This was particularly the case by the 2nd century CE, such as with the mummy of this young girl from the Field Museum in Chicago. Coffins are almost non-existent, and what we more often see are containerless mummies or sometimes rather elaborate cartonnage cases, as with this wealthy woman, also from the Field.

But a quite different "burial" practice developed between 140 CE and 250 CE. Many of you are probably familiar with the famous "portrait mummies" of Egypt. You may have heard of them described as the Fayum mummy portraits because the first such bodies were discovered in the Fayum region of Egypt. These are the mummies from the Roman Period whose portrait from life were painted on thin boards and placed over the facial wrappings of the mummy.

In the years between 140 CE and 250 CE it is believed these portrait mummies were not interred at a necropolis right away but remained in the home for a time--sometimes a long time. Damages sustained to the mummy, such as weakening of the wrappings around the ankles, show that these mummies were often propped upright for a period. Archaeologists have found wooden cupboards with double-doors that were believed to be the household "containers" for these bodies. The top drawer could be lowered to expose the painted portrait, whereby the living could provide offerings or ask for the advice of the dead.

Other wear and tear suggests these mummies were moved around quite a bit--from home to home, cemetery to cemetery, here to there, there to here. The cupboards containing the portrait mummies could be kept within the home, in the courtyard of a villa, or in a public space in the community. This all demonstrates how the old practice of Roman ancestor worship had influenced the Egyptians. After a time (sometimes years) groupings of mummies would be collected from the community and taken out for mass burials in the already overcrowded necropoli.

So if you have some naked space in your home and just can't figure out what to do with it, I hope I've provided a useful idea. Very Happy
_________________


Visit my blog!
Back to top
View user's profile Send private message Visit poster's website
Daniella
Priest
Priest


Joined: 23 Mar 2005
Posts: 803
Location: Canada

PostPosted: Wed Jul 13, 2005 1:36 am    Post subject: Reply with quote

Wow, that's really cool, thanks for providing those pictures for us kmt_sesh. I really like the first one.
Quote:
In the years between 140 CE and 250 CE it is believed these portrait mummies were not interred at a necropolis right away but remained in the home for a time--sometimes a long time. Damages sustained to the mummy, such as weakening of the wrappings around the ankles, show that these mummies were often propped upright for a period. Archaeologists have found wooden cupboards with double-doors that were believed to be the household "containers" for these bodies. The top drawer could be lowered to expose the painted portrait, whereby the living could provide offerings or ask for the advice of the dead.

That's very interesting, I didn't know that. I would be too creeped out to keep my dead relative in my living room. Shocked
_________________
Back to top
View user's profile Send private message
kmt_sesh
Moderator
Moderator


Joined: 13 Nov 2004
Posts: 7099
Location: Chicago, IL

PostPosted: Wed Jul 13, 2005 1:58 am    Post subject: Reply with quote

Quote:
That's very interesting, I didn't know that. I would be too creeped out to keep my dead relative in my living room.


It's not just that which should disturb you. I used the term "mummy" loosely in that post because, like I wrote, the bodies weren't really eviscerated or desiccated...they were just covered in resins, and I don't know that that did a whole lot. So you would have your dead STINKY relative in your living room.

Better buy lots and lots of air fresheners. I'll bet the Egyptians developed a quick affinity for large amounts of incense in that time period. Very Happy
_________________


Visit my blog!
Back to top
View user's profile Send private message Visit poster's website
anneke
Queen of Egypt
Queen of Egypt


Joined: 23 Jan 2004
Posts: 9305

PostPosted: Wed Jul 13, 2005 1:59 am    Post subject: Reply with quote

Any indication that they may have waited with the burial until they had enough mummies to make it worth their while financially speaking? Or maybe they collected a group of people who could keep each other company in the after-life?

It is a bit strange to imagine grandma and grandpa stashed in the corner, but I know someone who has his wive's ashes on his mantle in the living room.
Have to admit my father's ashes are in the back of my mom's closet Wink
But at least his mummy is not propped up in the corner of the living room Laughing
_________________
Math and Art: http://mathematicsaroundus.blogspot.com/
Back to top
View user's profile Send private message
kmt_sesh
Moderator
Moderator


Joined: 13 Nov 2004
Posts: 7099
Location: Chicago, IL

PostPosted: Wed Jul 13, 2005 2:50 am    Post subject: Reply with quote

Quote:
Any indication that they may have waited with the burial until they had enough mummies to make it worth their while financially speaking? Or maybe they collected a group of people who could keep each other company in the after-life?


There's not enough evidence to suggest any religious reasons for doing this other than to have direct access to the dead. You remember that post you wrote about writing letters to the dead? It's kind of the same thing, except now you have the convenience of walking across the room to visit and beseech your beloved deceased relative instead of having to hoof it all the way to the necropolis. Many of these mummies are extremely well wrapped and the portraiture skillfully painted, suggesting some considerable cost, which in turn suggests such families were well off, so I don't know that financial constraints had much to do with it. I think it was a developing form of ancestor worship influenced by the Romans, though the Egyptians had had their own forms from long past.

Quote:
Have to admit my father's ashes are in the back of my mom's closet
But at least his mummy is not propped up in the corner of the living room


Or propped up in the closet. I wonder why your mom keeps his ashes in there? I could see being cremated when I die--as an option--but I think I'd rather be on the mantle so I could keep my family company. They could paint a pair of eyes on the urn like those Egyptian coffins after the Old Kingdom...then I'd be able to keep an "eye" on everything. Very Happy
_________________


Visit my blog!
Back to top
View user's profile Send private message Visit poster's website
anneke
Queen of Egypt
Queen of Egypt


Joined: 23 Jan 2004
Posts: 9305

PostPosted: Wed Jul 13, 2005 2:27 pm    Post subject: Reply with quote

The ancestor worship may be a way to explain it then. But it does seem like an unegyptian thing to do. I don't think the old, middle or new kingdom folks ever did anything like that.

Very Happy I guess like you said, if they are perceived to haunt you you can just tell 'em to knock it off right there.... No need to write letters and put them in tombs.

On the matter of my mom: I think she prefers his picture on the mantle (or in this case on the wall right next to it). He is with her in that sense. And he does "keep an eye" on things in that way Smile I think she just hasn't been able to get herself to spread his ashes, and has actually mentioned that she wants that done after she herself has passed. Which I hope is still a long ways away. Wink
_________________
Math and Art: http://mathematicsaroundus.blogspot.com/
Back to top
View user's profile Send private message
kmt_sesh
Moderator
Moderator


Joined: 13 Nov 2004
Posts: 7099
Location: Chicago, IL

PostPosted: Wed Jul 13, 2005 11:40 pm    Post subject: Reply with quote

Quote:
The ancestor worship may be a way to explain it then. But it does seem like an unegyptian thing to do. I don't think the old, middle or new kingdom folks ever did anything like that.


Another interesting factoid is that the portraits painted for the mummies are thought to have been created years in advance, and hung on the walls of the home. When the person died, their portrait was removed from the wall and placed over the wrappings of his or her face.

And, no, to my knowledge this mummy-in-the-parlor business wasn't done until the Roman Period. The Egyptians of former times practiced different methods of ancestor worship, such as family-group statues in the public, superstructure portion of the tomb.

Quote:
On the matter of my mom: I think she prefers his picture on the mantle (or in this case on the wall right next to it). He is with her in that sense. And he does "keep an eye" on things in that way I think she just hasn't been able to get herself to spread his ashes, and has actually mentioned that she wants that done after she herself has passed. Which I hope is still a long ways away.


Years ago my sister lost a beloved friend to AIDS and she got together with a group of friends and spread her ashes in Lake Michigan. As I understand it, this sort of thing is often now illegal in many places. You have to do it surreptitiously or get permission from the authorities, and the latter is infrequently granted. But I agree with your mom: the picture on the mantle is a nice idea. Ashes are ashes but a lovely photograph keeps one fresh in the heart.
_________________


Visit my blog!
Back to top
View user's profile Send private message Visit poster's website
Display posts from previous:   
Post new topic   Reply to topic    Egyptian Dreams Forum Index -> Mummification All times are GMT
Page 1 of 1

 
Jump to:  
You cannot post new topics in this forum
You cannot reply to topics in this forum
You cannot edit your posts in this forum
You cannot delete your posts in this forum
You cannot vote in polls in this forum


Powered by phpBB © 2001, 2005 phpBB Group