What is mummy?

What Does mummy Mean

The etymology of mummy takes us to the classical Arabic mūmiyā ' , a word that alluded to the bitumen used in the embalming of corpses . This term, in turn, was derived from the Persian mum , which can be translated as "wax . "

A mummy is a corpse that, either by a man-made procedure or naturally, has dried out without rotting . Mummies, therefore, do not go into putrefaction despite the passage of time.
In most regions of the planet, when a human being or an animal dies, a degradation process begins . However, in certain areas, this does not happen since cold, dryness and other conditions prevent the appearance of microorganisms: in this way, the body is mummified.

The children of Llullaillaco are an example of natural mummies. These are three small Incas who died in a rite about five centuries ago, whose remains were found near the summit of the Llullaillaco volcano , in the Argentine province of Salta . Due to environmental characteristics, the bodies became mummies that were preserved in very good condition.
For religious reasons, various cultures developed artificial mummification with the intention of preserving corpses. In Ancient Egypt the practice had great ritual importance, as it prepared the deceased for the journey to the Hereafter .
There is a popular legend linked to a supposed curse of Egyptian mummies , which would attack those who try to desecrate their tombs. Throughout history , books, comics, TV series and movies were created inspired by this belief, such as the film trilogy starring Brendan Fraser .
The so-called sokushinbutsu are Buddhist mummies whose process begins while the monk is still alive. This is achieved through the extreme practice of asceticism , the philosophical doctrine that pursues the purification of the spirit through the denial of physical pleasures, since it goes against the survival instinct itself.
Although only twenty-four mummies of this type are known to date, it is estimated that many monks tried and failed. Most historians agree that the monk known as Kukai , who founded the Shingon Buddhist school towards the end of the 8th century in Japan, learned the sokushinbutsu technique in China, specifically from the Tang Dynasty .
In Tenerife, an island of the autonomous community of the Canary Islands located in the Atlantic Ocean, there are the remains of the Guanche mummies. They belong to a homonymous aboriginal tribe , who practiced mummification before the Canary archipelago was conquered by the Crown of Castile, that is, in the time before the 15th century.

Although many Guanche mummies are not preserved because of the acts of desecration and looting, some could be rescued and studied in detail. One of the characteristics that most stands out to the experts is that embalming techniques are very similar to those used by the ancient Egyptians.
Another of the best-known mummies is called Juanita , belonging to the Inca culture and found in the Arequipa region, in Peru, in 1995. It was discovered by Johan Reinhard and Miguel Zárate , an archaeologist and a mountaineer, respectively, during a expedition to the Ampato volcano, currently inactive. The first thing that caught their attention was its excellent state of conservation and the presence of many offerings around it, among which were some statuettes called illas and various plants.
The following year, they exhibited it at a headquarters of the National Geographic Society in Washington, United States of America, in a properly heated urn and then donated it to the Catholic University of Santa María de Arequipa .

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