Unwrapped Mummies Are Fantastic, Horrifying

junkyardarts March 5, 2012 Comments Off on Unwrapped Mummies Are Fantastic, Horrifying

field museum unwrapped mummies exhibition chicago

Ok, so mummies are fascinating, right?  We can all agree on this.  The preservation of human remains for eternity but our ancestors and their mysterious cultures is pretty thought provoking.  Pretty exciting.  And pretty unnerving.

So why not up the ante with a museum exhibition that not only shows you the mummies, the sarcophaguses, the canopic urns, but also extremely clear and detailed x-rays of the remains inside?

It’s the perfect melding of science and art that makes you stare in awe as much as it makes you dry heave a little.

The Field Museum in Chicago is ready to blow your mind (and chunks) with their Opening the Vaults: Mummies exhibitions in view until April 22.  From Eqypt and Peru, the remains of 20 individuals and that of numerous animals will be on display along with their terrifyingly fascinating x-ray images of the insides.  Dating from 5,500-800 years ago, it’s remarkable how well preserved the remains are, and invaluable to our scientific community.

“By studying the preserved remains of ancient peoples we can learn more about their lives. By using modern scanning technology, we have uncovered a wealth of new information without damaging the specimens in any way. We can now see pathologies such as injured bones and distorted or missing teeth. Evidence such as this tells us a great deal about the health of individuals,” said Robert D. Martin, A. Watson Armour III Curator of Biological Anthropology at the Museum.

And allowing the general public to view the same remarkable data that the scientists to is what I think makes this exhibition so enthralling.  We get to see the reasons why these individuals died, we don’t just have to read it on a placard in front of the sarcophagus.  Viewers are one step closer to understanding and appreciating these often mysterious cultures.

the field museum chicago mummies

And the learning experience is undeniable.  Like this tidbit: while Egyptians would remove organs from, salt the body of and further embalm and wrap the bodies of their lost ones as to help them remain preserved so they can cross over to the other world, Peruvians were a little more…public, we’ll say.

Peruvians would not embalm their dead but would put their bodies, exposed, in the desert to let the dry air mummify them and also allow for public viewing.  Some tribes would remove the heads of the deceased and place them in a seperate grave – the eyes and mouth sewn shut with cactus needles, and holes were drilled in the foreheads so that they could be suspended from cords.

Knowledge!  It’s fun!

See the short-running exhibition if you are in the Chicago area – and then tell me all about it.

Also, this mummy?  Reminds me a bit too much of Vigo the Carpathian.  Just sayin.

field museum opening the vault mummies xraysvigo the carpathian painting ghostbusters




ArtDaily / The Field Museum /

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