An exact description of a royal mummy’s embalming and burial, drawn from ancient records and from evidence found in a nearly intact tomb discovered in 1905.
Bower (How the Amazon Queen Fought the Prince of Egypt, 2005) embellishes her reverent account in minor ways with invented narrative details and in major ones with majestic illustrations of figures drawn in ancient Egyptian style. Ipy, son of the royal embalmer, Paneb, helps his priestly father prepare the body of Yuya—maternal grandfather of Pharaoh Ankhnaten—who is then buried near the Valley of the Kings. The author interweaves the explicit procedures (“Paneb slowly slipped his hand into the cut and started to pull out the intestines”) with associated rituals, transliterations of messages and prayers tucked into the many layers of linen wrapping, and explanations of each step’s physical and metaphysical significance. The pictures are less detailed, but they do capture the solemnity of the occasion as the mummy is created and then interred by a long procession of figures, each with a name or explanatory caption beneath. An emotional account of the tomb’s rediscovery, with photos and research notes, forms a substantial afterword. Readers will come away still vague on the actual chemicals employed (natron, for instance, though much mentioned, is defined only as “a sacred salt-like substance”) but clear about the profound ceremonial importance of the ancient rites.
Thrill-seekers and serious students of ancient Egyptian culture and values will be equally enthralled. (map, bibliography, family tree) (Informational picture book. 8-11)