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Star-Bulletin Features

Thursday, March 16, 2000

Honolulu Academy of Arts
This limestone sarcophagus lid dates to
the Ptolemaic Period, 200 B.C.

Fascination with mummies
lives on and on


By Tim Ryan


No doubt visitors to the Honolulu Academy of Arts' through July 30 will be clamoring to see the mummy.

A mummy and intricately painted sarcophagus are among the last stops in the "Mystery of the Nile: Treasures From Ancient Egypt" exhibition that officially opened today.

The preserved corpses of ancient Egyptians have fascinated people for centuries; mummies have been the central theme of dozens of films since the dawn of the film age. Film-goers never seem to tire of the plot in which vengeful mummies rising from the dead to stalk explorers disturbing their burial site.


Bullet What: "Mystery of the Nile: Treasures from Ancient Egypt"

Bullet Where: Honolulu Academy of Arts, 900 S. Beretania St.

Bullet When: 10 a.m. to 4:30 p.m. Tuesdays to Saturdays, 1 to 5 p.m. Sundays through July 30

Bullet Cost: Adults pay $12 on weekdays, $15 on weekends; $5 for children 6-12; 5 and under free. Member audio tours are $3.

Bullet Call: 532-8700

Bullet Recorded information: 532-8701

Bullet Parking: Lot behind Academy Art Center, 1111 Victoria St., $1 with validation

Egyptians did believe in an afterlife. They mummified their dead because they believed the soul would someday return to the body and occupy it again.

Although many other cultures have practiced mummification, Egyptians excelled in it. The most carefully preserved Egyptian mummies date from about 1000 B.C. The earliest ones discovered are much older.

Bodies were preserved using resin and spices. Sometimes bodies were immersed in a solution of salt. After about 70 days, the bodies were wrapped in linen, then placed in two cases of cedar or of cloth stiffened with glue.

The outer case was usually covered with paintings and hieroglyphics describing the life and deeds of the deceased. A molded mask of the dead or a portrait on linen or wood sometimes decorated the head end of the case.

The double case was placed in an oblong coffin and deposited in a sarcophagus. Bodies of the poor were merely dried with salt and wrapped with coarse cloth. Sacred animals, particularly cats, also were mummified.


We found 28 American-made films about mummies dating from 1911's "The Mummy." Here are other major films:

Bullet "The Mummy" (1932): With Boris Karloff, Zita Johann; directed by Karl Freund.

Bullet "We Want our Mummy" (1939): The Three Stooges go to Egypt in search of the mummy of king Rootin-Tootin for which a museum will pay a $5,000 prize.

Bullet "The Mummy's Hand" (1940): Archaeologists discover evidence of the hidden burial place of the ancient Egyptian princess Ananka. With funding from an eccentric magician and his daughter they set out to find the tomb, but accidentally discover Kharis' tomb. An Egyptian priest who vowed to guard the princess' mummy takes control of the awakened Kharis to kill the party members.

Bullet "The Mummy's Tomb" (1942): In the sequel to1940's "The Mummy's Hand," Kharis travels with high priest Mehemet to America to kill all those who had desecrated the tomb of his beloved princess Ananka 30 years earlier.

Bullet "The Mummy Strikes" (1943): An egyptologist is found dead and his assistant convicted of murder, but colleague Dr. Wilson tells reporter Clark Kent (Superman) about the Curse of King "Tush."

Bullet "The Mummy's Curse" (1944): An irrigation project in the rural bayous of Louisiana unearths Kharis, a mummy buried in quicksand 25 years earlier. Sequel to "The Mummy's Hand" (1940) and "The Mummy's Tomb" (1942).

Bullet "The Mummy" (1959): Stars Christopher Lee and Peter Cushing

Bullet "Blood from the Mummy's Tomb" (1972): Based on "Jewel of the Seven Stars" by Dracula author Bram Stoker.

Bullet "Dawn of the Mummy" (1981): A group of fashion models disturb the tomb of a mummy and revive an ancient curse.

Bullet "Time Walker" (1982): A sarcophagus is opened in a university laboratory. By accident the mummy is revived with an overdose of X-rays and soon goes looking for his first victims.

Bullet "Legend of the Mummy" (1998): Stars Louis Gossett Jr.

Bullet "The Mummy" (1999): Stars Brendan Fraser. An expedition of treasure-seeking explorers in the Sahara Desert in 1925 stumble on an ancient tomb, unwittingly setting loose a 3,000-year-old legacy of terror. An Egyptian priest who had been sentenced to an eternity as one of the living dead comes back to fulfill a curse.

Bullet "The Mummy 2" (2000): Sequel to "The Mummy." The mummified body of Imhotep is shipped to a museum in London, where he once again wakes and begins his campaign of rage and terror.

For stories about the exhibition that ran Tuesday, visit our web site at


'Mystery' special events

Following are activities, events, and educational opportunities being offered in conjunction with the "Mystery of the Nile" exhibition:

Bullet Tales from the Tomb: Keiki can see a mummy, learn to write hieroglyphics, dress in costumes and take part in other interactive activities in the Education Wing Gallery from 1:30 p.m. Tuesdays to Saturdays and 1 to 5 p.m. Sundays.
Bullet Keiki Family Days will have an Egyptian theme and allow children ages 6 through 12 accompanied by an adult, to participate in a make-and-take art activity, have a guided tour of "Mystery," enjoy refreshments and performances. Programs will be offered 9 to 11:30 a.m. April 15, May 13 and June 3. Admission is $15 for a parent and one child. Call 532-8726 for reservations.
Bullet "Learn about Egypt" features experts in the field of Egyptology with a series of lectures in the Academy Theatre:

Saturday -- Guest curator David P. Silverman from University of Pennsylvania, 2 p.m.

April 13 -- "The Mythology and Iconography of Divine Kingship in New Kingdom Egypt," with Lanny Bell, 7:30 p.m.

May 21 -- "Exploring Ancient Egyptian Musical Traditions," with Douglas Irvine, 2 p.m.

June 18, 2 p.m.: "Mummies, Magic, and Medicine: An Introduction to Ancient Egyptian Funerary Beliefs and Practices," with Lanny Bell, 2 p.m.
Bullet "Egypt on the Silver Screen" features several films in the Academy Theatre:

Sunday -- "Night of Counting the Years," 4 p.m.

April 9 -- "Passion in the Desert," 4 and 7:30 p.m.

April 16 -- "Date Wine," 4 p.m., and 7:30 p.m. April 17 and 19.

April 30 -- "Destiny," 4 p.m., and 7:30 p.m. May 1

June 8 and 9 -- "Cairo Station," 7:30 p.m., and 4 p.m. June 11

June 18 -- "Secrets of the Pharaohs" and "Valley of the Kings," 4 p.m.

June 30 and July 1 -- "The Beginning and the End," 7:30 p.m., and 4 p.m. July 2

July 16 -- "Cleopatra," at 4 p.m.

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