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Tuesday, 29 March 2011

Egyptian Mummy

Mummy :

A mummy is a corpse whose skin and organs have been preserved by either intentional or incidental exposure to chemicals, extreme coldness (ice mummies), very low humidity, or lack of air when bodies are submerged in bogs. Presently, the oldest discovered (naturally) mummified human corpse was a decapitated head dated as 6,000 years old and was found in 1936. The most famous Egyptian mummies are those of Seti I and Rameses II (13th century BC), though the earliest known Egyptian mummy, nicknamed 'Ginger' for its hair color, dates back to approximately 3300 BC.
Mummies of humans and other animals have been found throughout the world, both as a result of natural preservation through unusual conditions, and as cultural artifacts to preserve the dead. There are more than 1000 mummies in dry Xinjiang China. Over one million animal mummies have been found in Egypt, many of which are cats. There are so called mummies of mythical beings.


Egyptian Mummy

Scientific Verification :

Mummies were much sought-after by museums worldwide in the nineteenth and early twentieth centuries and many exhibit mummies today. Notably fine examples are exhibited at the Egyptian Museum in Cairo, at the Ägyptisches Museum in Berlin, and at the British Museum in London. The Egyptian city of Luxor is also home to a specialized Mummification Museum. The mummified remains of what turned out to be Rameses I ended up in a Daredevil Museum near Niagara Falls on the United States–Canada border; records indicate that it had been sold to a Canadian in 1860 and exhibited alongside displays such as a two-headed calf for nearly 140 years, until a museum in Atlanta, Georgia, which had acquired the mummy along with other artifacts, determined it to be royal and returned it to Egypt's Supreme Council of Antiquities. It is currently on display in the Luxor Museum.

Modern scientific methods are being applied to mummies for archeological research. Mummies can be studied without the need to unwrap them using CAT scan and X-ray machines to form a digital image of the body. This has been very useful to biologists and anthropologists, providing a wealth of information about the health and life expectancy of ancient people. In 2008, the latest generation CT scanners (64- and 256-slice Philips machines at the University of Chicago) were used to study Meresamun, a temple singer and priestess at the Temple of Amun whose mummy now resides at the Oriental Institute of Chicago. Mummies have also been used in medicine to calibrate CAT scan machines at levels of radiation that would be too dangerous for living people.
Scientists interested in molecular cloning the DNA of mummies have reported findings of analyzable DNA in an Egyptian mummy dating to circa 400 BC. Although analysis of the hair of Ancient Egyptian mummies from the Late Middle Kingdom has revealed evidence of a stable diet, Ancient Egyptian mummies from circa 3200 BC show signs of severe anaemia and hemolytic disorders.
Dr. Bob Brier of Long Island University has been the first modern scientist attempting to apply ancient Egyptian methods of mummification.

Egyptian Mummy

Mummy :

Drying of dead bodies without the use of chemicals is the secret of mummification, which was retained by the pharaohs more than thousands of years ago, which scientists kept looking for the key to that secret during all those years and yet nothing was discovered about it, with these words, Emad William Halaka, revealed from his new research his success to the professors of anatomy, School of Medicine, Alexandria University, in the mummification process, which took place with a "hand of mankind." This got approved and certified that he has done successfully. Here are the 9 steps of the very basic and scientifically sound and certified process of mummification as discovered by Emad Halaka
  1. Taking out some parts of the body, such as the stomach, brain and lungs
  2. Putting the salt of wadi el natroun, inside and outside.
  3. Putting the body in a pottery incubator
  4. Closing the incubator and making only a small opening in the top of the incubator
  5. Putting the pottery incubator on fire (the body must not touch the incubator, by putting the body on a pottery bed )
  6. Until the hot air which is raising from the opening, reached an exactly degree, we stop the fire
  7. Closing the incubator tightly
  8. Putting the incubator in the sun to a period, depending on: the weather and the volume of the body
  9. We break the incubator, and get out the body, putting perfumes on the body, then wrapping with clothes and putting in a place with no humidity


Monday, 28 March 2011

Egyptian Sphinx

All about Sphinx :
A sphinx (Ancient Greek: Σφίγξ /sphinx, Bœotian: Φίξ /Phix) is a mythical creature with a lion's body and a human head.
The sphinx, in Greek tradition, has the haunches of a lion, the wings of a great bird, and the face and breast of a woman. She is treacherous and merciless: those who cannot answer her riddle suffer a fate typical in such mythological stories: they are gobbled up whole and raw, eaten by this ravenous monster. Unlike the Greek sphinx which was a woman, the Egyptian sphinx is typically shown as a man (an androsphinx). In addition, the Egyptian sphinx was viewed as benevolent in contrast to the malevolent Greek version and was thought of as a guardian often flanking the entrances to temples.
In European decorative art, the sphinx enjoyed a major revival during the Renaissance. Later, the sphinx image, something very similar to the original Ancient Egyptian concept, was exported into many other cultures, albeit often interpreted quite differently due to translations of descriptions of the originals and the evolution of the concept in relation to other cultural traditions.
Generally the role of sphinxes is associated with architectural structures such as royal tombs or religious temples. The oldest known sphinx was found in Gobekli Tepe, Turkey and was dated to 9,500 BC.


Egyptian Sphinx

What names their builders gave to these statues is not known. At the Great Sphinx site, the inscription on a stele erected a thousand years later, by Thutmose IV in 1400 BCE, lists the names of three aspects of the local sun deity of that period, Khepera - Rê - Atum. The inclusion of these figures in tomb and temple complexes quickly became traditional and many pharaohs had their heads carved atop the guardian statues for their tombs to show their close relationship with the powerful solar deity, Sekhmet, a lioness. Other famous Egyptian sphinxes include one bearing the head of the pharaoh Hatshepsut, with her likeness carved in granite, which is now in the Metropolitan Museum of Art in New York, and the alabaster sphinx of Memphis, Memphis, Egypt, currently located within the open-air museum at that site. The theme was expanded to form great avenues of guardian sphinxes lining the approaches to tombs and temples as well as serving as details atop the posts of flights of stairs to very grand complexes. Nine hundred with ram heads, representing Amon, were built in Thebes, where his cult was strongest.
Perhaps the first sphinx in Egypt was one depicting Queen Hetepheres II, of the fourth dynasty that lasted from 2723 to 2563 BC. She was one of the longest-lived members of the royal family of that dynasty.
The largest and most famous is the Great Sphinx of Giza, Arabic: أبو الهول, sited at the Giza Plateau on the west bank of the Nile River and facing due east (29°58′31″N 31°08′15″E / 29.97528°N 31.1375°E / 29.97528; 31.1375). It is also from the same dynasty. Although the date of its construction is uncertain, the head of the Great Sphinx now is believed to be that of the pharaoh Khafra.

Egyptian Sphinx

Revived sphinxes in Europe :

The revived Mannerist sphinx of the 16th century is sometimes thought of as the French sphinx. Her coiffed head is erect and she has the breasts of a young woman. Often she wears ear drops and pearls as ornaments. Her body is naturalistically rendered as a recumbent lioness. Such sphinxes were revived when the grottescheGolden House" (Domus Aurea) of or "grotesque" decorations of the unearthed "Nero were brought to light in late 15th century Rome, and she was incorporated into the classical vocabulary of arabesque designs that spread throughout Europe in engravings during the 16th and 17th centuries. Sphinxes were included in the decoration of the loggia of the Vatican Palace by the workshop of Raphael (1515–20), which updated the vocabulary of the Roman grottesche.
The first appearances of sphinxes in French art are in the School of Fontainebleau in the 1520s and 1530s and she continues into the Late Baroque style of the French Régence (1715–1723).
From France, she spread throughout Europe, becoming a regular feature of the outdoors decorative sculpture of 18th-century palace gardens, as in the Upper Belvedere Palace in Vienna, Sanssouci Park in Potsdam, La Granja in Spain, Branicki Palace in Białystok, or the late Rococo examples in the grounds of the Portuguese Queluz National Palace (of perhaps the 1760s), with ruffs and clothed chests ending with a little cape.
Sphinxes are a feature of the neoclassical interior decorations of Robert Adam and his followers, returning closer to the undressed style of the grottesche. They had an equal appeal to artists and designers of the romantic, and later symbolism movements in the 19th century. Most of these sphinxes alluded to the Greek sphinx, rather than the Egyptian, although they may not have wings.

Egyptian Sphinx

Sphinxes in Freemasonry :

The sphinx image also has been adopted into Masonic architecture. Among the Egyptians, sphinxes were placed at the entrance of the temple to guard the mysteries, by warning those who penetrated within, that they should conceal a knowledge of them from the uninitiated. Champollion says that the sphinx became successively the symbol of each of the gods, by which Portal suggests that the priests intended to express the idea that all the gods were hidden from the people, and that the knowledge of them, guarded in the sanctuaries, was revealed to the initiates only. As a Masonic emblem, the sphinx has been adopted in its Egyptian character as a symbol of mystery, and as such often is found as a decoration sculptured in front of Masonic temples, or engraved at the head of Masonic documents. It cannot, however, be properly called an ancient, recognized symbol of the Order. Its introduction has been of comparatively recent date, and rather as a symbolic decoration than as a symbol that announces any dogma.