Yesterday, we had a sold-out workshop for children at the Michael C. Carlos Museum of Antiquities at Emory University. During the first part of the program, I gave an “Anubis Speaks” tour through the galleries, focusing on some of the not so well-known depictions of the god of embalming.
The one up top, for example, shows an atypical posture for the god. Instead of weighing hearts or presiding over a ceremony, Anubis seems to be throttling a snake, likely a representation of the evil monster Apophis. In his front hand he seems to be holding up a lotus flower cup, a symbol of renewal.
Anubis is everywhere in the Egyptian galleries, from Old Kingdom coffins to Ptolemaic/Greek era mummy covers (right).
The kids particularly relished my detailed, gross talk on the actual process of mummification. After that, we moved onto the workshop part of the program–making masks!
Artist Pam Beagle
helped the kids create their three-dimensional black and gold beauties. While the kids were cutting the fancy black and gold paper, I reminded them that many of the rituals of mummification were performed by priests wearing similar masks. This made some of them cut even faster!
The project required a lot of concentration and attention to details but the kids were up for the challenge.
After-ward, a number of the kids asked me to sign their copies of Anubis Speaks! The bloody paw-print stamp, I’ve been told, was a favorite part of my “autograph.”
I was determined to make my own mask but didn’t get to because I was assisting Pam and museum education manager, Nina West. I’m not a visual artist, so my “help” ended up being more of the “fetching glue and patterns” variety. I took all the raw supplies home, though, determined to make my
very own jackal-headed mask of the god of embalming and death.
I can’t wait to make scary god-dog noises through the 3-D snout!
Teachers, making Anubis masks is a fun activity. So is stuffing little felt hearts and weighing them against the feather of truth (which I conveniently bring with me!).
Invite me to your schools/classrooms so we can enjoy the wonderful-strangeness of Ancient Egypt together!