miércoles, 10 de agosto de 2016

Mummy of ibis with snail inside beak

Mummy of ibis with snail inside beak
Late Period–Roman Period


Sacred animals had always figured in ancient Egyptian religion, but beginning about the 7th century the phenomenon of sacred animal cults burgeoned remarkably. In some temples a single sacred animal acted as the living incarnation of a god, in others living species were kept within the temple precincts, and there were also temples and sanctuaries attached to the burial places of sacred animals.
Most of the animal mummies in museums today are from among the hundreds of thousands or more made for sale to those wishing to make donations to a relevant divine animal or god in order to bring themselves to the god’s attention, perhaps for a specific purpose like a dream interpretation or a wish for fertility, perhaps for a better eternal life.
Research on animal mummies has shown that the majority of mummies found at the large animal cemetery sites are pre-adults who were purposely killed for use as donations. Some of the mummies are actually ‘substitute’ mummies containing only a few bones or feathers or possibly just sticks or sand.
Recently a review of the museum's animal mummies and their x-rays was conducted in consultation with an expert in their study, and brought to light a number of interesting points. In this particular case the wrappings, where the face of the divine animal is missing, contain the full skeleton of an ibis. In the x-ray at least one snail shell can be identified in the bird's beak. An ibis mummy from Abydos with a snail in its beak was also noted not long ago, and a recent study found three other ibis mummies whose internal organs had been wrapped and replaced in the body along with snails or grain. Apparently these small foodstuffs provided sustenance for the animal's eternity.

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