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Ibis-Form Shrew Mummy

Egyptian, Classical, Ancient Near Eastern Art

These four animal mummies are in ibis-related shapes but different wrapping styles. The CT scans and X-rays shown here reveal that two of these mummies are indeed ibises, as expected, but that of the two others, one contains snakes and the other contains shrews.

Scientific examination has revolutionized scholars’ understanding of the most basic data available in analyzing animal mummies.
MEDIUM Animal remains (Crocidura flavescens, C. nana, C. olivieri, or C. religiosa), linen
  • Reportedly From: Saqqara, Egypt
  • DATES 664–332 B.C.E.
    DYNASTY Dynasty 26 to Dynasty 30
    PERIOD Late Period
    DIMENSIONS 4 3/4 x 3 1/2 x 19 5/8 in. (12.1 x 8.9 x 49.8 cm)  (show scale)
    CREDIT LINE Charles Edwin Wilbour Fund
    CATALOGUE DESCRIPTION The object is an anthropomorphically shaped mummy with a flattened body that tapers toward the pointed end onto which dummy feet are attached; a characteristic shape for hawk/raptor mummies. The body, from the shoulder to the feet, is covered with a single piece of light colored, fine, plain weave linen. A thin strip of linen with dyed dark brown edging extends from the bottom of the wig to the heel and covers the seam where the outer wrapping crosses in the back. Alternating light and dyed dark brown strips of doubled linen make up the wig/headdress that form a horseshoe shape on the back of the head and run vertically down either side of the head to the chest. A recessed area and unfinished edge in the head indicates that there was once a facial ornament (cartonnage, metal, wood) that is now missing. Fine cording is visible crisscrossing the bottom of the feet. The mummy contains skeletal remains of two shrews.
    MUSEUM LOCATION This item is not on view
    CAPTION Ibis-Form Shrew Mummy, 664–332 B.C.E. Animal remains (Crocidura flavescens, C. nana, C. olivieri, or C. religiosa), linen, 4 3/4 x 3 1/2 x 19 5/8 in. (12.1 x 8.9 x 49.8 cm). Brooklyn Museum, Charles Edwin Wilbour Fund, 37.1987E. Creative Commons-BY (Photo: Brooklyn Museum (Gavin Ashworth,er), 37.1987E_Gavin_Ashworth_photograph.jpg)
    IMAGE overall, 37.1987E_Gavin_Ashworth_photograph.jpg. Brooklyn Museum photograph (Gavin Ashworth, photographer), 2012
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    RIGHTS STATEMENT Creative Commons-BY
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