Large mummy with a false head, from the dead field of Ancon.

Ancon, Necropolis, Inca, Peruvian, mummy, Peru,
PLATE 11. Large Mummy with false head.

III. The Mummies in their diverse equipment.

a. False-headed Mummies.



The mummy pack was apparently intended to assume the aspect of a crouching person covered with cloths, hence to imitate the form presented by an Indian squatting under his poncho or ruana; and anyone opening such a grave for the first time will assuredly fancy he sees before him a slightly shrouded corpse. But a more careful observation shows that we have here a highly complicate style of burial carried out by carefully prescribed rules.

The shape of the mummy pack is not conditioned by the body, as in the present instance is evident from its very proportions. On the contrary the well-packed body is seated inside the large pack, on which is placed a false head made of cushions.

The outer wrapping is formed of a stoutly woven undyed cotton cloth, over which is laid a coloured striped piece covering both the upper portion of the pack and the false head. The white cloth represents a closed sack, while the ends and corners of the coloured cloth are stitched together and made fast to the back of the mummy, as may be partly seen on Plate 12, Fig. 1, and on Plate 13.

It is further attached by a figured fillet to the false head, whose eyes and nose, consequently the features, are recognised through the material lying on them. The lower portion of the pack is tied round with thin cordage giving support to two ropes plaited pigtail fashion, whose four free ends are laid loosely round the shoulders and neck of the figure. As in the case of many other mummies, these served to lower the whole pack into the deep grave, whose disposition is shown in the section, Fig. 1, Plate 10. Near the mummy was found stuck straight in the ground the club-shaped wooden implement shown in the illustration.

Note:  Italy. Vallombrosa Abbey and the Camaldolese Order in 1905.

The mummy, nearly five feet high, strikes the observer by its very size, whereas otherwise, as shown by the following Plates, the rank or wealth of the mummies mostly of much smaller size, may be recognised by their sumptuous attire. Form and details of the mummy are given on Plates 12 and 13 with the accompanying description, while the internal arrangement common to all mummies may be seen on Plates 19, 20 and 21.

The mummy, whose proportions are given in the description of the side view (Plate 13), comes from the westernmost part of the group of graves figured on the plan, Plate 1.

Source: The necropolis of Ancon in Peru: a contribution to our knowledge of the culture and industries of the empire of the Incas being the results of excavations made on the spot by Wilhelm Reiss (1838-1908); Alphons Stübel (1835-1904), joint author; Wilhelm Greve, lithographer; Augustus Henry Keane (1833-1912), translator; Ludwig Wittmack (1839-1929); Rudolf Virchow (1821-1902); Alfred Nehring (1845-1904). Berlin: A. Asher & Co.; New York : Sole agent for America, Dodd, Mead & Company, 755 Broadway, 1880.

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The Fabric of Civilization: How Textiles Made the World Paperback – December 7, 2021
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