The mummy exhibit, which opened on July 1 at the California Science Center in Los Angeles, is sensational because never before have so many mummies been gathered in one place. American Exhibitions Inc, in collaboration with Reiss-Engelhorn Museums, has borrowed mummies from Europe, South America, Oceania and Asia to show that there are more than Egyptians who could preserve skin and hair, writes Heritage Key .
The around 150 mummies on display consist of both mummified humans and animals. Among other things, one of the oldest mummies that have been found is included in the exhibition. zzz. It is called the “Detmold child” and originates from Peru. It was about 10 months old when it died, and lived sometime between 4504–4457 BC.
Other highlights of the exhibition are the mummy of a German nobleman who was found with his boots on in the family tomb by his descendants. It is the first time a mummy family has been exhibited, and animals that were mummified to accompany the royals for eternity are on display.
Interest in the ᴅᴇᴀᴅ But what is it about these well-preserved corpses that piques our curiosity?
Pål Steiner is an Egyptologist and historian of religion at the University of Bergen. He works mainly on Egyptian religion, but has had a lot to do with mummies. Radiologists at Haukeland scanned the mummies in Bergen last year to get answers to questions about how they lived and died, as well as how they were preserved.
– We are getting closer to the details of people who lived over 1,000 years ago. I think their lives and deaths arouse our interest, says Steiner. We are fascinated by mummies precisely because they are people who lived so long ago and are so well preserved.
He emphasizes that our conception of death is in great contrast to the Egyptians’ and that it automatically makes us wonder. Preserving a corpse is something that few in our society even consider. zzz. We are between being cremated or being buried in a coffin, while the Egyptians took care of the whole body because they saw it as a way of survival.
– There are religious reasons behind the mummification. Real life began after death. Death was a form of salvation, one might say.