The Kushites practiced the process of mummification to preserve the
bodies of their deceased rulers and royal persons. The first step
in the mummification was to remove certain internal organs of the
deceased that were thought to be unimportant parts of the body. These
parts were not thrown away, but placed in canopic jars, or the "four
sons of Horus", the Kushite gods that where thought to protect them.
Duamutef protected the stomach, Happy protected the lungs, Qebehsenuef
protected the intestines, and Imsety protected the liver. The brain
was tossed out by pulling it through the nose holes, or through an
opening that was cut in the left side of the deceased body.
Photo of a mummy of a Nubian Queen.
However the heart was not removed, which was though to be the most
sacred part of the body. By removing the most moisturous organs,
the Kushites helped fasten the process of drying the body. They
started by washing the body with natron and water. Natron is a type
of salt obtained, from certain areas along the Nile Valley, to
extract the water and moisture out of the deceased's body.
Then the body was wrapped with linen soaked in natron and
water solution. The wrapped body was kept for forty days to
allow the natron time to remove the water and moisture. During this
period the body was kept in a hot and dry environment so that the
water pushed out by the natron would evaporate.
The wrap was then removed and the body was washed with water and
alcohol and anointed with a solution of resin. After that, the body
was placed in an extended position and adorned with extensive jewelry.
Gold masks were placed on the deceased's face. The hands were also
adorned with gold crooks and bracelets. Fingers and toes were covered
with gold, and rings covered the fingers of the mummy.
Finger and toes sheaths. All made of gold. Courtesy of the Harvard
University-MFA Boston Expedition and the Khartoum National Museum.
Source: Wildung, Dietrich. Sudan: Ancient Kingdoms of the Nile.
Death mask. Napatan period. Nuri from Sudan.
The body was finally wrapped with hundreds of yards of linen. During
the process of wrapping, sacred amulets and texts were inserted
within the folds of the linen. The wrapped body, or mummy, was then placed
in a wooden coffin that has been made to look like the deceased
with some abstraction.
The wooden coffin was then fully covered with gold foil. Colored
designs covered the surface of the coffin such as the designs for
the winged god Horus, protector of the pharaohs. The wooden coffin
was then put again inside a larger coffin also decorated to resemble
the body of the deceased. The outer coffin was also inlayed with gold and
decorated with religious motifs. Before the outer coffin was locked,
sacred writings were included inside.
Then the coffin was carried to the tomb chamber below the pyramid
and placed on a bench; that is on a bed on top of a bench. The deceased
belongings were included in the chamber to suit his/her soul in
the after life.