Pic of the Day: Animal Mummies

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Photographer Richard Barnes’ unique take on the animals exhibited at the Natural History Museum has been detailed here before. Now National Geographic‘s November issue documents his work at Cairo’s Egyptian Museum, where the animals are all mummified. Before you get huffy, many were treated better than humans as they were prepared to escort their well-to-do owners into the afterlife or mummified as “the living representatives of a god.” Others were meant to serve as a meal in the afterlife. After the jump, the Barnes photos.

This is a queen’s pet gazelle. No word on whether MJ ever bid on it before his death.

The embalming house for the Apis Bulls. They were sacred animals in the great city of Memphis. For 40 days the body of each bull lay decaying on a massive stone bed in a courtyard, where the sun did its job.

This looks like a votive mummy, but it was later discovered to be empty. A interesting bit of archeological trickery.

Supposedly, this mummified baboon was pampered in a sacred temple during its lifetime, then it was enshrined in the Tuna el-Gebel catacombs. Suggesting they were a bit off their rockers, priests would pray and make offerings to the shrine to show the proper reverence.

This is a raptor. Isn’t its appliquéd face creepy?