New Sensation: SA’s Austin Mahone and teen pop superstardom

New Sensation: SA’s Austin Mahone and teen pop superstardom

Music: Like the bulk of Austin Mahone’s Instagram account, this one’s a selfie. In a white tank top, hair coifed up real big, Mahone arranges his facial... By Matt Stieb 7/22/2014
Beaches Be Trippin\': Five Texas Coast Spots Worth the Drive

Beaches Be Trippin': Five Texas Coast Spots Worth the Drive

Arts & Culture: Let’s face it, most of us Lone Stars view the Texas coast as a poor man’s Waikiki. Hell, maybe just a poor man’s Panama Beach — only to be used... By Callie Enlow 7/10/2013
Best Brunch

Best Brunch

Best of SA 2013: 4/24/2013
Best Thai Food

Best Thai Food

Best of SA 2012: Tucked off Blanco Road in a bland shopping strip lies a tasty secret that has been keeping SA foodies smiling for over a decade. Once you pass through the rough exterior, you'll... 4/25/2012
Best Food Truck

Best Food Truck

Best of SA 2012: We love food trucks. But, honestly, there are days when the restaurant-on-wheels trend feels completely out of hand. Frequently operators wheeling out new mobile eateries... 4/25/2012

Search hundreds of restaurants in our database.

Search hundreds of clubs in our database.

Follow us on Instagram @sacurrent

Print Email

Arts & Culture

Mummies of the World at the Witte Museum

Photo: Photo courtesy of the Witte Museum, License: N/A

Photo courtesy of the Witte Museum

Howler Monkey mummy from Grand Chaco, Argentina

What is it about kids and mummies? Maybe it's sheer exoticism, ghoulish delight, or their strange similarity to the familiar name for mother, but there's no denying that children are fascinated by the wrapped remains associated with the glory days of the Egyptian pharaohs. To whet that appetite, kids of all ages can see over 50 mummies in the break-through traveling exhibition "Mummies of the World," on view at the Witte Museum through January 27.

Mummies have been a staple of horror movies since Boris Karloff played the revived Egyptian priest Imhotep in 1932's The Mummy, reprised by Brendan Fraser in the 1999 blockbuster of the same name. The tale has its basis in media stories of "the mummy's curse" associated with the 1922 discovery of the 3,000-year-old tomb of King Tut in the Egyptian desert. Sponsored by England's Lord Carnarvon, who died of blood poisoning shortly after the discovery, only six members of the 26 person archeological expedition died within the decade. Howard Carter, the leader of the group (and the most likely target for an enraged mummy), lived until 1936. But the "curse" label took — mummies brought back from the dead have become an enduring trope, and though now seeing serious competition from zombies, they seem destined to gallop their way through many more films and horror stories.

But reality is, as they say, stranger (or at least, more complicated) than fiction.

Commonly associated with Egypt, mummies have been found around the globe.

"Mummies of the World" presents over 50 human and animal mummies from Europe, Africa, Asia, South Pacific, South America — and ancient Egypt. The mummies on display are real artifacts, not plastic resin mock-ups. Skin and bits of hair and soft tissue, including muscle, are still preserved. Ranging from hundreds to thousands of years in age, the collection includes the mummified remains of a child from 6,400 years ago; a dog found in a peat bog; a German baron from the 17th century, and our favorite — a Howler monkey from Argentina wearing (for some unknown reason) a feathered skirt and boa.

The traveling exhibition was inspired by the 2004 find of 20 human mummies in the basement of the Reiss-Engelhorn Museums in Mannheim, Germany — a macabre collection that once belonged to the artist Gabriel von Max (1840-1915). Thought to have been lost during the Second World War, their discovery prompted new studies on mummification — both intentional, and accidental. Known as the German Mummy Project, it is collaboration between 21 museums and collections in seven countries.

Using non-invasive research methods such as CAT scans, X-rays, and carbon dating, the project has led to new understandings of not only how the people (and animals) died and what diseases and injuries they had, but what their life was like — how long they lived, what their general health was, and what food they ate. By looking at the past, we can learn more about where we came from, and how differences in environment and culture — including diet, shelter, and climate, led to today's diversity of life ways.

Recently in Arts & Culture
  • ‘The Other Side’ Tackles the Impossible: Writing about trauma I didn’t take any notes while reading The Other Side because by the time I paused to pick up a pencil, I was already three-quarters of the way through. And for... | 7/23/2014
  • 7 Public Art Projects Worth Searching For You’re likely familiar with the high-profile works of public art on view around downtown San Antonio: the gigantic, red swoop of... | 7/23/2014
  • Free Will Astrology ARIES (March 21-April 19): A report in the prestigious British medical journal BMJ says that almost one percent of young pregnant women in the U.S. claim to be... | 7/23/2014
We welcome user discussion on our site, under the following guidelines:

To comment you must first create a profile and sign-in with a verified DISQUS account or social network ID. Sign up here.

Comments in violation of the rules will be denied, and repeat violators will be banned. Please help police the community by flagging offensive comments for our moderators to review. By posting a comment, you agree to our full terms and conditions. Click here to read terms and conditions.
comments powered by Disqus