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The Warsaw Voice » Other » July 4, 2013
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Mummy Djed still a major attraction in Racibórz
July 4, 2013   
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Mummy Djed still a major attraction in Racibórz
Already in the nineteenth century, its fame spread far beyond Racibórz. It was not until the twenty-first century when the curtain on her death was repealed.

Local tradition has it that the Egyptian mummy kept today in Racibórz museum was to be a gift for bride of extravagant baron Anselm von Rothschild, a representative of the famous Jewish banking family. They owned a beautiful palace inspired by Baroque and French Classicism. Monumental building drew adventurous noblemen from Austria-Hungary, Prussia and the Kingdom of Poland. On a grand scale hunts organized in Szylerzowiceby Rothschild’s, where was one of Europe's largest pheasantry, hosted, among others Potocki’s.
In the mid-nineteenth century European elites were encompassed by real mummy mania. Egyptians embalmed bodies were brought to the Old World on a big scale, organizing public demonstrations of unwinding them with bandages. An exciting and at any rate macabre entertainment around 1860, the Rothschild’sdecided to treat their guests. Many members of the family traveled to the Middle East and Egypt. Baron bought the mummy and gave it to the king's evangelic middle school in Racibórz that had a cabinet of antiquity. Rothschild’s gift beside the embalmed body also included a beautifully decorated cartonnage and two well-preserved sarcophagi. In Racibórzthe mummy immediately became the object of scientific inquiry. The first interest was shown by middle school professor Wilhelm König, leaving valuable description: "In a lifetime she was a woman. (...) Appearance is not beautiful, and could for many lively and sensitive imaginations be uncomfortable. It is filled with resin and bitumen (...) ". We know thanks to him that between the bandages there were amulets, including scarab –the holy beetle. Unfortunately, they never found their way to middle school, probably pleased the eyes oftheRothschildsfor many years. In the early twentieth centuryRacibórz visited prof. Woldemar Schmitt, a prominent Egyptologist from Copenhagen. He estimated the age of the deceased Egyptian at about 20years old and studied the contents of the Egyptian inscriptions. In 1909, the mummy went to Gliwice. Rustic Museum offered suitable conditions for exposure. Hall was decorated in the style of an Egyptian tomb. In 1934, after a long struggle, mummy returned to Racibórz, having by then itsown museum. To celebrate the exhibition a number of priceless ancient arts from the Nile Delta and the original canopic jars were brought from the Berlin museum of Egyptology. The latter are the only that survived World War II.
It was not until the early 80s of the last century whenPolish scientists shown interest in the mummy. Expert prof. Andrew Niwiñski undertook steps to date the original cartonnage, defining its time of creation at the XXII / XXIII dynasty. He also stated that the embalmed woman comes from Thebes. In the years 1983-1984 the part of the burial was preserved by KrzystofSyrek of theCracow’s Academy of Fine Arts. From the capital of Malopolska also came to Racibórz prof. Boleslaw Smyk, the famous microbiologist, a researcher at the tomb of King CasimirJagiellon. In Racibórz professor studied the microbes living at the embalmed body and discovered a total of thirteen species of bacteria, six fungi and actinomycetes. In 1990, hieroglyphics and iconography cartonnage and sarcophagi became the subject of an in-depth research byProfessorAlbertynaDembska of the Oriental Institute of the University of Warsaw. Egyptian mummy Djed-Amonet-jus-ankh that dates back 2800 years still attracts to Racibórz tourists wanting for a while to associate with the world of Ancient Egypt. It is one of only a dozen Egyptian mummies found in Poland.


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