Teddy Bear Mummification
Note: Remember that your completed steps of mummification must be turned in before you begin the following process.
1. What the Egyptians Did:
They removed all the internal organs from the body except for the heart. They believed that the heart was the place where a person’s soul was kept. The brain, which they considered to be useless tissue, was removed through the left nostril, using a long hook.
1A. What I Will Do:
I will have Ms. M. (the chief embalmer and ripper) make a small incision in the left side of my teddy bear’s abdomen and in the left nostril. Carefully, without causing further damage to this holy figure, I will remove all of the stuffing inside the animal, leaving a little bit where the heart should be. I will save the stuffing, which represents the internal organs, in the shoe box I brought in with my teddy bear. I will carefully remove the stuffing from the brain using the hooks provided in class.
2. What the Egyptians Did:
They spread a special kind of salt, called natron, all over the inside and the outside of the body. They put the body on a slanted embalming couch so that any fluids that dripped out of the body would drain. They let the natron dry out the body for at least forty days.
2A. What I Will Do:
I will fill the teddy bear’s insides with packets of salt. This will help to dry out the body. I will let the body sit several days on a shrine-like couch (the lid of my shoe box).
3. What the Egyptians Did:
The internal organs were also dried and preserved with natron. They were then wrapped in strips of linen and placed in four canopic jars or tiny coffins. Each canopic jar had a lid with the face of an Egyptian god on it (the four sons of Horus).
3A. What I Will Do:
I will leave at least half of the stuffing in my shoe box. I will take the internal organs (the remainder of the stuffing) and divide them into four groups. Each part will be wrapped in holy linen (cloth or toilet paper) and placed in a canopic jar (baby food jar). On the lid, I will put a drawing of the Egyptian god that represents that body part, or I will use clay to make a three-dimensional head for the lid of the jar. On the outside of the jar, I will draw scenes that might have occurred in my teddy bear’s life.
4. What the Egyptians Did:
After forty days, the body was completely dry and shrunken. The natron was removed from it, and the whole body was washed, inside and out, with palm wine, oil, and/or fragrant spices.
4A. What I Will Do:
After leaving the salt in my teddy bear’s body several days, I will remove it. I will then sprinkle the body with fragrant leaves (potpourri or bay leaves), which I will get from Ms. M.
5. What the Egyptians Did:
The mummy’s head and body were packed with linen soaked in scented oil and with spices so that the head and body would regain the shape they had in life and so that the body would have a palatable scent. Once this was done, the mummy was covered with necklaces, rings, and bracelets made of gold and gems. A heart scarab was placed over the heart.
5A. What I Will Do:
I will stuff the head and the body with the remaining stuffing and with spice packets, which I will get from Ms. M. If my teddy bear’s head and body need more stuffing to return them to their original shape, I will use toilet paper to finish the stuffing, working until the head and body have regained their appropriate shape. I will place a heart scarab over the heart. Then I will use a needle and thread that matches my teddy bear to stitch up the incisions, keeping the stuffing and spices inside the body. I will get the needle and thread from Ms. M., who will show me how to do the sewing. I will add jewelry to the body.
6. What the Egyptians Did:
The entire body was covered in shrouds and bound with strips of linen. Amulets (small magical objects) were placed between the layers of the wrappings to protect the mummy’s spirit on its way to the afterworld. Over the mouth, they placed a special amulet that had phrases on it that the person might have spoken when he/she was alive.
6A. What I Will Do:
I will wrap the entire body with strips of linen (white or neutral colored cloth). I will place small amulets in the wrappings. These amulets will protect my teddy bear’s spirit on its way to the afterlife. I will then place an amulet over the mouth, along with words my teddy bear might have spoken when it was alive.
7. What the Egyptians Did:
After the wrapping was finished, the head of the mummy was covered with a death mask (also called a portrait mask) to ensure that the mummy’s spirit would recognize its body.
7A. What I Will Do:
I will draw a death mask for my teddy bear. The death mask will resemble the teddy bear’s face in its original condition. I will attach the mask to the head of the mummy.
8. What the Egyptians Did:
Skilled artists, sculptors, and carpenters helped prepare for the burial. They made the coffin or a nest of coffins for the mummy. The coffins were painted inside and out with gods, goddesses, and magic spells of protection. The coffins were placed into a stone coffin called a sarcophagus.
8A. What I Will Do:
I will decorate my sarcophagus (shoe box), inside and out, with pictures of gods, goddesses, magic spells, and other Egyptian decorations. I will include my teddy bear’s name in cartouche form on the sarcophagus.