New Kingdom, Ancient Egypt
c. 1550-1069 BC
Head of an Egyptian Mummy
This is the mummified head of an ancient Egyptian individual. The external occipital protuberance on the back of the head is very prominent, suggesting the individual may be male. The head is severed between cervical vertebras. It is wrapped in wide strips of linen and covered with resins. It is likely that this head was collected by a tourist in Egypt. It was much cheaper to pack a head in a suitcase, rather than paying to ship an entire mummy home. People of the Victorian period (1800s) liked to collect scientific specimens from different cultures, which they displayed in curio cabinets. The collections made a statement that the owner was not only wealthy, but also scholarly.
Monkey Shrunken Trophy Head
Upper Amazon Basin, Ecuador
Monkey head shrunken in the traditional manner of the Jívaro tribe, Ecuador.
The Jívaro believe that through the taking and preparing of trophy heads, the killer gains the power of the deceased individual’s soul. Collecting trophy heads became popular with Euro-Americans during the late 1800s. Heads for the market were acquired from unclaimed dead at the morgue or by looting cemeteries. Fake heads like this were manufactured from animal skin with human hair attached.
Research requests may be directed to the following staff members.
For natural science material:
Curator of Natural Science
563-324-1054 ext. 226
For archaeology, ethnology or regional history artifacts:
Curator of History
563-324-1054 ext. 222
For photographic or archival materials:
563-324-1054 ext. 223