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Ibis Mummy

Egyptian, Classical, Ancient Near Eastern Art

The ideal votive animal mummy, as shown in the X-ray here, contains one animal wrapped in the linen package. Yet without an X-ray or CT scan, it is impossible to know whether an additional animal, or no animal at all, was included in the wrappings.

Egyptians of the first millennium b.c.e. believed that they could appeal to the god Thoth to intercede in human affairs. Ibis mummies allowed such a petitioner to send a message to the god.
CULTURE Egyptian
MEDIUM Animal remains (Glossy Ibis - Plegadis falcinellus or an African Sacred Ibis - Threskiornis aethiopicus), linen, pigment
  • Place Made: Egypt
  • DATES 400-110 B.C.E.
    DYNASTY Dynasty 27, or later
    PERIOD Late Period to Ptolemaic Period
    DIMENSIONS 4 3/4 x 2 3/4 x 11 1/4 in. (12.1 x 7 x 28.6 cm)  (show scale)
    MUSEUM LOCATION This item is not on view
    ACCESSION NUMBER X1179.4
    CREDIT LINE Brooklyn Museum Collection
    RIGHTS STATEMENT Creative Commons-BY
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    CAPTION Egyptian. Ibis Mummy, 400-110 B.C.E. Animal remains (Glossy Ibis - Plegadis falcinellus or an African Sacred Ibis - Threskiornis aethiopicus), linen, pigment, 4 3/4 x 2 3/4 x 11 1/4 in. (12.1 x 7 x 28.6 cm). Brooklyn Museum, Brooklyn Museum Collection, X1179.4. Creative Commons-BY (Photo: Brooklyn Museum, X1179.4_top_PS2.jpg)
    IMAGE top, X1179.4_top_PS2.jpg. Brooklyn Museum photograph, 2008
    "CUR" at the beginning of an image file name means that the image was created by a curatorial staff member. These study images may be digital point-and-shoot photographs, when we don\'t yet have high-quality studio photography, or they may be scans of older negatives, slides, or photographic prints, providing historical documentation of the object.
    CATALOGUE DESCRIPTION The object is a mummified ibis, wrapped in linens, into a singular triangular-like shape. The front surface is decorated with linens folded and placed in a way to form a geometric pattern. Darker linens also form a decorative triangle pattern. At least two different linens were used; one being a finer weave, and the other more coarse. The dark linen is also a more coarse weave. On the underside, the ends of linen are secured with a dark colored resin. Condition: The mummy is in poor and unstable condition. The dark brown linens are more deteriorated than the natural linen. It is missing in some areas, and the remaining material is split and powdery. The natural linens are in fair condition, though there are some tears throughout. There appears to be a complete ibis within the linens. A beak, neck, torso, legs and wings are all visible. It appears to be laid out in the typical manner for ibis mummies; the neck has been doubled back onto the body, the wings and legs have been bent up against the body.
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