Linen wrapped around her frame could prove a litmus test for the legend of Naishu, the city’s mummy resting at the State Archaeology Museum, which is set for conservation in near future.
The Department of State Archaeology and Museums has sought the expertise of Anupam Sah, the conservation head of art at Chhatrapati Shivaji Maharaj Vastu Sangrahalaya in Mumbai. Mr. Sah along with chemical conservation expert Vinod Daniel visited the mummy on Monday to discuss its conservation.
With mummy’s condition remaining unknown, the experts suggested ‘stabilising’ before carrying out further studies on it.
Naishu, believed to be the 18-year-old daughter of the sixth Pharoah, is said to have died during childbirth in 2,500 B.C. The mummy was obtained by the sixth Nizam Mir Mehboob Ali Khan in 1920. His son and the last Nizam Mir Osman Ali Khan donated it to the museum, where it has been since 1930. Humidity and absence of conservation took its toll on the artefact, which is one of seven of its kind in the country.
As part of conservation efforts, it was proposed that the fallen linen be put back into place without disturbing its antiquity and the mummy be wrapped in a transparent mesh-like material that would hold it in place.
“They also suggested that we procure a silicon tub that would hold the mummy’s frame. Unlike most mummies, this one does not have a sarcophagus and experts suspected its absence could have caused the body to let down,” said N.R. Visalatchy, the department’s director who accompanied the experts on Monday.
According to Ms. Visalatchy, the experts had also proposed analysis of linen, the results of which could be compared to that from other mummies, including the pharaohs.
A match would validate Naishu’s links with ancient Egyptian royalty. However, further investigative studies, including imaging scans, to learn about Naishu’s cause of death and more, can only be taken up after stabilisation.
After initial consultations, the department is awaiting the State government’s nod to a Rs. 63-lakh proposal it sent for purchase of a climate-controlled glass case from a German firm.
The case will infuse nitrogen and control humidity as well as temperature fluctuations to prevent microbial decay.