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Bronze knife, Egypt, 2000-100 BCE

Part of the process of mummification is the removal of all of the internal organs from the body apart from the heart, which was seen as the seat of the mind and emotions. These knives would have been used to cut the organs from the body prior to embalming. However, in ancient Egypt there were no specialised knives, so these examples made from bronze and copper may also have been used in the home for eating and preparing meat. The knives (A634903, A634904, A634905, A634906, A634907) were bought at different times from auction houses and private collections.

Object number:

A634904

 

Glossary:

Glossary: knife

A (usually) metal blade used as a cutting tool with usually one long sharp edge fixed rigidly in a handle or a hinged case.

Glossary: mummification

No description.

Glossary: embalming

The application of chemical preservatives to slow the natural decomposition of a corpse. Modern methods were greatly refined in the 1800s. Although they have been widely used in Europe, the custom remains most commonly used in North America. Formaldehyde is the primary embalming fluid used today. It is a preservative injected into the blood system to replace the blood which is drained out. Embalming fluid can also be pumped into the body cavities as well.