My mummy is female.....but who knows what's underneath these wrappings?
And now that I have your attention...............
This is an image of what the "Gemmy Mummy" must have looked like when Nickki & Jean first got it. It had light-up eyes, moving jaw, and sound. Eventually it got worn down and Niccki & Jean no longer wanted it.......so......they offered it to me.
When I got it, the first thing I did was remove the head.
Then I purchased one of these inexpensive foam skulls ( and on sale mind you)
from Michael's craft store.
Using a hot-wire foam cutter, I separated the jaw and removed the foam teeth. I then used Sculpey clay to make new ones and inserted them into the skull. Then it was just a matter of adding some tissue and latex.
I then test-fitted the head onto a new neck, cut away part of the left arm and replaced it with an old skeleton arm I had. I then tried out some decorative and costume jewelry pieces I had picked up a long time ago at a second-hand store that had a 'passable' South American feel to them, though I think they are actually Tibetan or some Indo-Asian style.
Then I took it all apart, and finished the latex and plastic work on the arm, two protruding fingers, and head. Part of this process involved using plastic tarp material and shrink-wrapping it onto the head and arm with a heat gun. It's a great technique to simulate desiccated skin. I even glued on some cheap fake nails from a dollar store. When dry, I painted it up, added an old wig from a past costume, and reassembled it all.
I then took an off-white sheet that I also picked up at a second-hand store, tore it into strips, weathered it in a wheelbarrow of damp dirt, and let it dry. I then wrapped over the Egyptian-looking gauze with the strips and then glued, and sealed them with a combination of
clear and tinted spray lacquers.
And this is how she now looks finished!
I'm not sure what this would have cost to do counting everything involved since I already had much of the raw material laying around. I believe the sheet, skull, and nails came out to a total of about $14. One of my goals from the beginning was to alter the mummy from Egyptian to South American.......so I did some research.
As it turns out, while many of the "mummies" one can see from South America look creepy as hell, most were not mummified intentionally. Instead they sort of mummified themselves in the unique climate of Peru and other areas, after having being ritualistically wrapped and buried. However, even this process usually...though not always*.... placed the body in a fetal position within some kind of large container or external cocoon-like wrapping.
Only the Chileans actually practiced ritual mummification by eviscerating the dead body and attempting to preserve the skin, but rather than using natron and gauze like the Egyptians, they used different types of native mud (black and red) in combination with cloth wrapping.
Still, to be perfectly honest, my finished product is not an accurate depiction of any of these techniques but rather a hybrid interpretation of Chilean and Egyptian methods....with just an unhealthy touch of ghoulishness tossed in. I feel it conveys what I'm after in a way that is fine for Halloween .......if not an anthropological study.
* The Lady of Cao, which we saw on our trip to Peru, is a mummified body of a high-ranking female who died in childbirth at the age of 26, and who was buried in a series of wrappings in a supine position. The arid conditions of the area which the Spanish called El Brujo, dried her out and preserved her until her discovery during the excavation of the temple uncovered in the area. (link for more information) We were not allowed to photograph the body on display.