Animal Mummies

  • Salima Ikram
Reference work entry

Although it is commonly known that the ancient Egyptians mummified humans, it is a less well‐known fact that they also mummified animals. Animals were mummified for the same reason as humans: to preserve their bodies so that they could live forever. This suggests that a belief in animal souls was a part of Egyptian religion.

Mummification is the preservation of a body through artificial means. In terms of animal mummies it varied somewhat depending on the time period and the type of mummy that was being created. The basic principle, however, remained the same: to desiccate the body using natron (a naturally occurring compound of salt and soda found in the Wadi Natron in Egypt) or even salt. Once the corpse was desiccated, it was anointed with oils and resins and wrapped in linen bandages. There are four types of animal mummies: food offerings, pets, sacred animals, and votive offerings. Pets and sacred animals seem to be the most carefully mummified, while votive offerings are the most...

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© Springer-Verlag Berlin Heidelberg New York 2008

Authors and Affiliations

  • Salima Ikram

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