Cat Mummies

In our "Animals in Art" class we have been looking at the appreciation of animals in Egyptian art. Did you know that they were one of the first civilizations to domesticate cats? It was honorable for each household to have a cat. Rodents spread diseases rampantly. Cats killed the rodents therefore cats saved lives in ancient Egypt and they were honored by being mummified and buried with their kings and queens. Lucky them. They are odd beautiful objects with the patterned cotton fabric and painted face masks.



We decided to make our own mummified cats.  

I thought plaster strips would be a great material to use. It's easier to use than paper mache and hardens better and faster. The kids can see and feel the transformation from a wet, soft material to a dry, hard one. But we needed to start with an inner structure.


We balled up newspaper, rolled that up in another piece of newspaper, taped it together. We rolled up another ball of newspaper  and taped that to one end of the newspaper roll as the head, We used a shallow plastic container as the nose and taped it to the head. Oh and we needed ears so we cut out cardboard triangles and taped those to the top of the head.

We covered that structure with the plaster cloth and let dry. They were quite beautiful just white.


After the structure was made they really did look like mummies, but they needed some panache. We covered just the body portion with strips of fabric using watered down glue. They choose from all kinds of patterned fabric. We painted the head and let them dry. 





After we outlined the eyes and nose and sometimes ears we needed a final touch to really make them special so we added some gold paint to make them shine. The kids tend to take something like gold paint and just go nuts, covering the entire sculpture a\or painting so I talked about the paint as being special and to really think about where they would like to add that specialness. Some wanted golden ears or a golden nose and some really wanted the body to be gold. Now that I think about it an entirely golden cat mummy would pretty great as well.




The kids were super proud and gave a big roar for their mummies.


  

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