Will this mummy return to health?

The mummy at the Telangana State Museum inHyderabad. Photo: Arunangsu Roy Chowdhury  

A Pharaoh’s daughter, many centuries old, waits in a mummified state at the State Museum here for care from her compatriots.

The mummy, brought here in the 1930s, has been a victim of apathy.

Damage to the prized possession of the museum is conspicuous. The outer crust, face, shoulders and the toe area have fragmented and the exposed inner wrappings have disintegrated.

Not in the know of methodologies in the care and restoration of a mummified body, the museum authorities have decided to invite experts from Egypt and seek funds from the State government.

The museum staff say the mummy is one of the few in the country with the others in museums in Mumbai, Kolkata, Manipur, Jaipur, Lucknow and Kolkata.

Sunita M. Bhagwat, who recently took charge as Director, Department of Archaeology and Museums, says plans are being made to approach experts in mummy conservation in Egypt and seek their assistance. “We are writing to the government for funds, and this is a priority for us,” she says.

The Department of Archaeology and Museums had earlier tried to involve experts from the U.K. and Egypt, but paucity of funds did not help in taking the initiatives further.

Tareq-al-Awady, an antique and conservation expert from Egypt, who inspected the mummy six years ago, suggested a round-the-clock climate-controlled environment to stop deterioration and placing it in a special oxygen-free showcase.

The mummy is believed to be of a girl aged 16 to 18 and dated to the Ptolemaic period — 300 BC to 100 BC.

The mummy was bought for £1,000 by Nazeer Nawaz Jung, son-in-law of Mir Mahboob Ali Khan, the sixth Nizam of Hyderabad, in 1920. He gifted it to Mir Osman Ali Khan, the seventh Nizam, who donated it to the State Museum, which was opened in 1930.

X-ray studies two decades ago showed the body to be intact with only one tooth missing.

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Printable version | Aug 4, 2021 4:55:32 AM | https://www.thehindu.com/news/cities/Hyderabad/will-this-mummy-return-to-health/article7310285.ece

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