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whose head it bore. Others were of common limestone, and even of wood; but these last were generally solid, or contained nothing, being merely emblematic, and intended only for those whose intestines were returned into the body. They were generally surmounted by the heads above mentioned, but they sometimes had human heads; and it is to these last more particularly that the name of Canopi has been applied, from their resemblance to certain vases made by the Romans to imitate the Egyptian taste. I need scarcely add that this is a misnomer, and that the application of the word Canopus to any Egyptian vase is equally inadmissible.
Such was the mode of preserving the internal parts of the mummies embalmed according to the most expensive process. And so careful were the Egyptians to show proper respect to all that belonged to the human body, that even the saw-dust of the floor where they cleansed it was taken and tied up in small linen bags, which, to the number of twenty or thirty, were deposited in vases and buried near the tomb.
In those instances where the intestines, after being properly cleansed and embalmed, were returned into the body by the aperture in the side, images of the four Genii of Amenti, made of wax, were put in with them, as the guardians of the portions particularly subject to their influence; and
* The city of Canopus probably derived its name from Kag Nouf, “ the golden land ;” or Χρυσεον Έλαφος,
sometimes, in lieu of them, a plate of lead, or other material, bearing upon it a representation of these four figures. Over the incision the mysterious eye of Osiris (?) was placed, whether the intestines were returned or deposited in the vases.
I have stated that many different gradations existed in the three classes of mummies; if indeed they can be limited to that number. They may be arranged under two general heads † :
I. Those with the ventral incision.
I. Of the mummies with the incision are,
2. Those preserved by natron.
1. Those dried by balsamic and astringent substances are either filled with a mixture of resin and aromatics, or with asphaltum ‡ and pure bitumen.
When filled with resinous matter they are of an olive colour: the skin dry, flexible, and as if tanned; retracted and adherent to the bones. The features are preserved, and appear as during life. The belly and chest are filled with resins, partly soluble in spirits of wine. These substances have no particular odour by which they can be recognised; but thrown upon hot coals a thick smoke is pro
* Suprà, p. 456.
+ Vide Pettigrew, p. 70.; from whom these observations are taken. He cites M. Rouger's "Notice sur les Embauments des Anciens Egyp tiens."
"When the asphaltum incorporates with the body it becomes brown and greasy, and easily crumbles into powder; when it does not incorporate with the flesh it retains its shining black colour."
duced, giving out a strong aromatic smell. Mummies of this kind are dry, light, and easily broken; with the teeth, hair of the head, and eyebrows well preserved. Some of them are gilt on the surface of the body; others only on the face, or the sexual parts, or on the head and feet.
The mummies filled with bitumen are black; the skin hard and shining, and as if coloured with varnish; the features perfect; the belly, chest, and head filled with resin, black, and hard, and having a little odour. Upon being examined they are found to yield the same results as the Jews' pitch met with in commerce. These mummies are dry and heavy. They have no smell, and are difficult to develop or break. They have been prepared with great care, and are very little susceptible of decomposition from exposure to the air.
2. The mummies with ventral incisions prepared by natron, are likewise filled with resinous substances, and also asphaltum. The skin is hard and elastic it resembles parchment, and does not adhere to the bones. The resins and bitumen injected into these mummies are little friable, and give out no odour. The countenance of the body is little altered, but the hair is badly preserved: what remains usually falls off upon being touched. These mummies are very numerous, and if exposed to the air they become covered with an efflorescence of sulphate of soda. They readily absorb humidity from the atmosphere.
Such are the characteristic marks of the first quality of mummies, according to the mode of em
balming the body. They may also be distinguished by other peculiarities; as,
1. Mummies of which the intestines were deposited in vases.
2. Those of which the intestines were returned into the body.
The former included all mummies embalmed according to the most expensive process (for though some of an inferior quality are found with the incision in the side, none of the first quality were embalmed without the removal of the intestines); and the body having been prepared with the proper spices and drugs, was enveloped in linen bandages, sometimes measuring 1000 yards in length.* It was then enclosed in a cartonage fitting closely to the mummied body, which was richly painted, and covered in front with a network of beads and bugles arranged in a tasteful form, the face being laid over with thick gold leaf, and the eyes made of enamel. The three or four cases which successively covered the cartonage were ornamented in like manner with painting and gilding; and the whole was enclosed in a sarcophagus of wood or stone, profusely charged with painting or sculpture. These cases, as well as the cartonage, varied in style and richness, according to the expense incurred by the friends of the deceased. The bodies thus embalmed were generally of priests of various grades. Sometimes the skin itself was covered with gold leaf; sometimes the
* Vide Pettigrew, p. 89.
whole body, the face, or the eyelids; sometimes the nails alone. In many instances the body, or the cartonage, was beautified in an expensive manner, and the outer cases were little ornamented; but some preferred the external show of rich cases or sarcophagi.
Those of which the intestines were returned into the body, with the wax figures of the four Genii, were placed in cases less richly ornamented; and some of these were, as already stated, of the secondary class of mummies.
II. Those without the ventral incision were also of two kinds.*
1. Salted, and filled with bituminous matter less pure than the others.
2. Simply salted.
(1.) The former mummies are not recognizable; all the cavities are filled, and the surface of the body is covered with thin mineral pitch. It penetrates the body, and forms with it one undistinguishable mass. These mummies, M. Rouger conceives, were submersed in vessels containing the pitch in a liquid state. They are the most numerous of all kinds: they are black, dry, heavy, and of disagreeable odour, and very difficult to break. Neither the eyebrows nor hair are preserved, and there is no gilding upon them. The bituminous matter is fatty to the touch, less black and brittle than the asphaltum, and yields a very strong odour. It dissolves imperfectly in alcohol,
* I quote again from Pettigrew, p. 71.