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#MetKids—How Were Mummies Made in Ancient Egypt?

#MetKids is a digital feature made for, with, and by kids and the Met!

How would you prepare for the afterlife? Join Asher, age 11, as he investigates the ancient Egyptian mummification process.

Special thanks to #MetKids contributor Asher.

Credits

About #MetKids

Associate Curator, Department of Egyptian Art: Isabel Stünkel

Featured Artwork:
Coffin of Khnumnakht

Music:
Kevin MacLeod, "Serpentine Trek" (incompetech.com)
Licensed under Creative Commons: By Attribution 3.0
http://creativecommons.org/licenses/by/3.0/

Special thanks to the Department of Egyptian Art.


Supported by Bloomberg Philanthropies.

© 2015 The Metropolitan Museum of Art

Transcript

Asher: Hi, I'm Asher, and I'm eleven years old. I am here with Isabel. She's a curator at the Met, and I'm going to ask her a few questions.

I really like the Met collection. It's one of the best collections in the world, and this is basically where I can enjoy my passion of ancient Egypt.

Can we discuss the mummification process?

Isabel Stünkel: Sure. So, mummification is a process to preserve the body. They first clean the body, and then they actually cut the body open to take out the internal organs.

Asher: They mummified the major internal organs separately, placed them in little jars.

Isabel Stünkel: Called the canonic jars.

Asher: And they were each guarded by a figure on the top of the pot.

Isabel Stünkel: And they were the protective deities for these organs. So that was the stomach . . . what else was it? Intestines, the lungs, and the liver. Yes. The heart, often, they left in place. And then the brain, the Ancient Egyptians did actually not know that the brain was so important.

Asher: They took out the brain in the grossest way ever. They took the stick, they slid it up your nose, and then they twirled the stick around inside your head so that all the brain got mashed up and into almost a liquid. And then piece by piece, they sort of took the goo out, it sort of slid out of your nose.

Isabel Stünkel: That's what they did! Because they didn't know it was so important.

Asher: Then they let the body dry in salts.

Isabel Stünkel: And then they wrapped the body in lots of linen.

Asher: They sometimes put in religious amulets as they wrapped the body. Then they put on, like, a mask.

Isabel Stünkel: Mummification was a way to transform the body, but also a way to transform—to transform the deceased into this other being that was then supposed to live on.

Asher: The Egyptians really valued the afterlife, because it was the life that lasted forever. I'm Asher, and I'm here at The Metropolitan Museum of Art.

If I could pick one food to bring to the afterlife, I would pick . . . blueberries. Blueberries. Blueberries. Blueberries. Blueberries.