Mummy of a Falcon

The mummy of a falcon represents the god Horus. The falcon is wrapped in the shape of a human mummy. The head is covered with a falcon-shaped mask, which consists of several layers of linen with a thick coating of painted stucco. The linen bandages intersect to form lozenge shapes.

The mummy wears a wig and a pectoral, a large piece of jewelry that is worn on the chest. The inlaid eyes are painted in red. Mummified animals were quite common in Egypt and included all sorts of animals and birds thought to represent various divinities.

Falcon Mummy. Egyptian Museum, Cairo. JE 91451
Falcon Mummy. Egyptian Museum, Cairo. JE 91451

The image of the falcon identifies the god Horus, one of the major Egyptian deities, whose name ‘herw’ should mean ‘the far one’. As a deity, it was quite known in Predynastic times, during the conquest and unification of Egypt. The focus of these actions was the city of Hieraconpolis, ‘the city of the falcon’ where he was the main deity, which elevated him to dynastic and national deity.

Research on animal mummies has shown that the majority of mummies found at the large animal cemetery sites are pre-adults who were purposely killed for use. Some of the mummies are actually ‘substitute’ mummies containing only a few bones or feathers or possibly just sticks or sand.

Late Period, 26th Dynasty to 30th Dynasty, ca. 664-332 BC. Now in the Egyptian Museum, Cairo. JE 91451