Middle East

Anatolian Mummy: Expecting Unexpected Things

From the royal family to religious people and cats, the various mummies on the modern Turkish border have stories.

Ancient Egypt dominated the general mummification discourse, but mummification was widespread in some parts of the world.

Often, as a result of belief in the afterlife, mummification is the act of preserving the bodies of the dead, and techniques and customs vary from culture to culture.

Anatolia is the home of countless civilizations throughout history and, of course, the home of these different cultures of mummies, called homes.

“There are two groups of mummies found in Turkish land so far: Christian mummies and Turkish mummies, or individual Muslims,” ​​said Musafar Dogambas, an art historian working at the Amasya Museum in Turkey. Told. TRT World..

“Both cultures mummified the dead because it was customary someday. However, the mummified people were not ordinary people, but important people such as politicians, generals, and religious people. It’s important to note that, “added Doganbas.

In Turkey, mummies can be found in museums and mausoleums. Museum mummies are preserved under special conditions, paying special attention to temperature and humidity and further delaying spoilage.

The third group of mummies that can be found in Turkiye are those brought into the country from abroad, such as the Egyptian mummies of the crocodile from the Nile at the Topkapi Palace Museum in Istanbul.

A Byzantine-era Christian baby mummy on display at the Aksaray Museum in Turkey. One of them is dressed with Anatolian motifs and a cross. (AA)

Byzantine mummy

Aksaray, Turkey’s famous province of Cappadocia, has the Ihara Valley, known as the “Mummy Valley”.

Stone houses and tombs, once a prominent Christian settlement in Byzantine, and dozens of ancient churches can be seen along a long valley of 14 km (8.5 miles).

About 25 km (15.5 miles) from the Ihara Valley is another Byzantine church, the Canli (Bell) Church.

Apart from its importance as a good example of Byzantine architecture and religion, the Kanri Church, like most churches in the Ihara Valley, was once an eternal resting place for mummified religious figures and children.

“Muttering the dead was an ancient practice that is widespread in what is now called Aksaray. Mummification can even be seen as a well-known form of art,” said an archaeologist at the Aksaray Museum. Esra Cetin said. TRT World..

Currently, the catalog of the Aksaray Museum contains eight mummies extracted from the ancient Byzantine church and the rock tombs of the city, mainly from the ancient Kanri church.

Mummies, including babies and cats, are believed to date from about the 10th century. They were recovered after most illegal excavations, resulting in deformation and hindering complete archaeological analysis.

Aksaray Museum Cat Mummy. The mouth, teeth, feet and nails are well preserved.

Aksaray Museum Cat Mummy. The mouth, teeth, feet and nails are well preserved. (Courtesy: Aksaray Museum)

“There is no evidence of their internal organs. Organs are usually removed and stored separately next to the body during mummification, but due to illegal excavation, there is currently no evidence in this case.” Said Cetin.

These mummies also do not appear to be bandaged like Egyptian mummies. According to Setin, the cloth they used may have decayed faster than the bandages used in Egypt, or the bandages may have been lost when the tombs were excavated.

Christian mummies in the Cappadocia region may have been anointed with spoilage-delaying substances and wrapped in clothes for eternal rest. This is because some mummies’ earth-colored clothes have been around for a long time.

“It was also observed that mummies dating from the 10th to 13th centuries AD were buried hand in hand on their backs,” Cetin said. The exact reason why such a habit emerged is unknown.

The Aksaray Museum also has a mummy’s personal belongings. An example is a baby mummy found along with shoes, jewelery and other jewelery. These may have been placed next to the baby as a funeral offering.

Turkic and Islamic mummy

“Many tribes and civilizations in the Turkic world had mummification habits,” said Herodotus, adding that Herodotus recorded mummification of the Saka rulers.

“The body of the deceased ruler was taken to a border settlement for six months, causing the subject to witness the ruler’s death, so they needed to mummify their bodies to preserve it. I did, “he explained.

Mummification rituals in the Turkic world are not as well known and studied as Egyptian customs. However, there are certain known differences.

For one thing, preservative-treated personal bandages were not part of the Turkish custom. In addition, when the internal organs were removed during mummification, the Turkic people buried these organs instead of storing them in the Canopic jars as in ancient Egypt.

The mummy of the Grand Vizier, which dates back to the Seljuk Empire of Amasya or the rule of the Ilkhanate, on display at the Amasya Museum.

The mummy of the Grand Vizier, which dates back to the Seljuk Empire of Amasya or the rule of the Ilkhanate, on display at the Amasya Museum. (Courtesy: Amasya Museum)

But how does mummification fit into Islamic customs?

“Despite contradictory religious beliefs, traditions can continue. And mummification was an exclusive practice that remained in the higher classes of society. People were mummified and buried in the basement. No one was intended to know that they were mummified, except those who buried them, “Dogambas said.

Indeed, some sources claimed that the mummification practice had ended when the Turks adopted Islam, which was found in mummified bodies in several tombs and mosques. It has been proven to be wrong.

“Mummyization existed as an Anatolian tradition, as in parts of the Middle East, as both the Torah and the Bible explain the mummification of religious figures, but that tradition today. It did not exist in the area around Saudi Arabia, “added Mr. Dogambas, explaining why the long-abandoned form of art is not well known among Muslims.

Examples of mummified Turks and Muslims can be found in the local museums in the province of Amasya, Turkey, which were governed by the Danishmendids, Seljuks, Ilkanids, and Ottoman Empires, respectively.

The mummies on display at the museum, believed to have lived during the Ilhan dynasty over the occupation of the Seljuk Empire, include three adult men, one adult woman, four children (girl and two boys), and The fourth person was unable to have a gender. Decision.

The mummies were taken to the museum from the Kumdar Tomb and Fetier Mosque in Amasya and identified by reference to these locations and written sources.

They are assumed to be of the Ilkhanate ruler’s lineage, the Minister of Anatolia Kumdar, the Ilkhanate Khan of Amasya Isbuga Nuin, the Izzetin Mehmet Pelvan Bay of Vizier, who ruled Amasya, and their families. It has been.

The museum has also embarked on a project to depict how they were alive by having experts examine historical sources and the characteristics of mummies.

The project is primarily a creative endeavor by giving visitors an idea of ​​how they were mummified before they looked.

The project is primarily a creative endeavor by giving visitors an idea of ​​how they were mummified before they looked. (Courtesy: Amasya Museum)

Experts also have thoughts on how these individuals died on examination of their bodies, revealing the dark truth about the royal family. “They were probably victims of the murder,” in Dogambas’ words.

For example, a broken neck and open mouth of a mummy, believed to be Kumdar Bay, suggests that an individual was strangled or hanged.

In fact, the spectator can see his painful expression at the moment of death, as the body remains untouched until rigor mortis begins and is likely to be mummified later.

The mummy’s foot, believed to be the son of Izzettin Mehmet Pervane Bey, also shows the same form of execution as the cause of death.

Documents of that era have been reported to confirm that these individuals have been executed, and although it is impossible to determine who they are or who has been mummified, their Antiseptic treatment was an attempt to immortalize their bodies to match their immortal souls.

Kumdar Bay Mummy, his preserved look.

Kumdar Bay Mummy, his preserved look. (Courtesy: Amasya Museum)

Source: TRT World

https://www.trtworld.com/magazine/mummies-in-anatolia-expect-the-unexpected-52987?utm_source=other&utm_medium=rss Anatolian Mummy: Expecting Unexpected Things

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