Thursday, September 3, 2009

The Embalming Process Part 3

Sorry I've been away so long, but I started school this week. To recap: my rat Chuck passed away last Monday and I decided to mummify him in the Ancient Egyptian fashion. Before we resume, a warning:

THE FOLLOWING BLOG IS NOT FOR THE SQUEAMISH! IT CONTAINS GRAPHIC DESCRIPTIONS AND PHOTOGRAPHS OF THE EMBALMING PROCE
SS, INCLUDING THE DISSECTION AND EVISCERATION OF DEAR, SWEET CHUCK.

I left off with washing Chuck and his organs in wine. I dried off the organs and placed them in a baking tin lined with muslin. I put a generous amount of natron salt on the bottom before placing the organs in and covering them with salt. When I had completely covered them I put them on a shelf in my kitchen to sit for 40 days.

When I returned to Chuck he was still pretty wet from his wine bath. I live in the damp Pacific Northwest. Since there was no chance of a desert wind passing by to dry him up I decided to improvise with a hairdryer. The most worrying aspect of embalming process is the risk of mold or rot. I figured if I got him super dry before packing him with natron, I would avoid those problems.

After his blow dry, I made little balls of natron with a square of muslin; I placed a spoonful of natron in the middle of the fabric, gathered the ends up so I made a little ball, then tied the top with thread. After I packed Chuck's abdominal cavity with natron balls, I sewed him up, one layer at a time. Then I turned him over to deal with the empty braincase. It was too small a space to pack with natron fabric balls, so I just poured natron inside until it was filled up, then I closed him up with thread.

Chuck was now as good as new and ready for eternity. I used another baking pan lined with muslin. Here's a picture of him looking a little like Ramses I. You can see the crude sutures in his side and my attempt to tie his hands in the position of a pharaoh. I buried him in a mound of natron. Currently he is lying in repose on top of my kitchen cupboard and will stay there for the next 40 days. I know it's a long wait for the next blog post, but I'm sure my one follower will stayed tune. Thanks for your support. And thank you Chuck!

2 comments: