Mummification Descriptive Essay

A description of ancient ritual mummification.
# 147823 | 1,462 words | 5 sources | MLA | 2010
Published on Jul 22, 2011 in Anthropology (Middle Eastern) , History (Religion) , Religion and Theology (Other)

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This paper begins with a brief description of the ancient Egyptian religion. Because of the Egyptian beliefs in resurrection, the ritual of mummification was performed. The paper describes how researchers uncovered the details of the process of mummification and then explains the tools and methods used to carry out the process. In conclusion the paper ties together the religious belief system with the desire to preserve one's soul and body for eternity.

From the Paper:

"First, all the organs must be removed except the heart because at this time, it was known to be where thought and the soul was held. The organ taken out first was the brain. As most people know, the brain is taken out through the nose. However, speculations of the brain's removal are misconstrued. Yes, the ethmoid bone in the nasal cavity is broken, allowing entrance to the cranium, but instead of pulling out the brain in pieces it is instead turned to liquid with a large hooked iron tool ("Mummification"). The brain is then drained out through the nose and the cranial cavity is cleansed with palm wine and frankincense (Delsite). The next organs to come out are ones in the thoracic and abdominal cavities. A three-inch slit made in the left side of the abdomen allowed for the removal of the bodily organs. Bob Brier, citing Herodotus, said that the cut is made by a priest a part of Anubis' surgical team, known as "the Slitter." He comes in, marks a red line on the body three inches long, cuts along that line, and runs away because they threw stones at him as a ritual. This was because the respect for the dead was so great that anyone that defies a human body is doing something wrong, even though he was trying to preserve it. Once rid of organs, the abdominal cavity was cleaned as the cranial cavity had been. Fist-sized packets of natron wrapped in linen took the place of the organs in order to dry the body from the inside out. Once the organs are cleaned and dried with natron, they are put into four canopic jars, each with a different Egyptian god's head on the lid. These heads were the four sons of Horus, the almighty god: Imsety, with the head of a human, is the protector of the liver, Duamutef, with the head of a jackal, is the protector of the stomach, Hapi, with the head of a baboon, is the protector of the lungs, and Qebehsenuef, with the head of a hawk, is the protector of the intestines ("Mummies"). Now that the bodily organs were in divine hands of the original guardians of Osiris' organs, the body had to be dried on an embalming table. The body and the table are covered in four hundred pounds of natron, and left to sit for thirty-five days. This is just enough time for the majority of the moisture to be absorbed but with enough moisture remaining to still allow movement of the corpse. Whilst uncovered from the mound of natron the softball sized packets of natron were removed from the abdominal cavity. This process is not finished until the mummy is wrapped with six layers of Egypt's finest linen ("Mummification")."

Sample of Sources Used:

  • Brier, Bob. Egyptian Mummies. New York: William Morrow and Company, 1994. Print.
  • Brier, Bob. "Mummification: Resurrection of a Lost Art." Lecture. The Stuart L. Wheeler Gallery Lecture. Jepson Hall, Richmond, VA. 2 Apr. 2009. YouTube. University of Richmond, 8 Apr. 2009. Web. 1 Oct. 2010.
  • Delsite, Alison, and Janet Bouy. "I Made a Mummy! (A How-to You Don't Want to Try at Home)." Boys' Life 92.1 (Jan. 2002): 32-37. Print.
  • "Egyptian Religion." Kidipede - History and Science for Kids. Web. 01 Oct. 2010.
  • Martson, Wendy. "Making a Modern Mummy." Discover 21.3 (2000): 70-75. Print.

Cite this Descriptive Essay:

APA Format

Mummification (2011, July 22) Retrieved January 22, 2022, from

MLA Format

"Mummification" 22 July 2011. Web. 22 January. 2022. <>