Removed from their tombs and displayed in relatively sterile surroundings, the mummies are still awe-inspiring. They carry with them the grave weight of thousands of years of history, yet they still seem very much alive. This was, after all, the idea, as summed up in a hieroglyphic inscription on the top of Henut- Wedjebu's coffin: "O my mother Nut (goddess of the sky), stretch yourself over me, that I may be placed among the imperishable stars which are you, and that I may not die." It's as if all of the preparations, all of the spells and incantations inscribed on their coffins, did indeed ensure them everlasting life.
Egyptian Mummies: Pet Menekh and Henut-Wedjebu opens Friday, Aug. 27, with a reception from 5-7 p.m., and runs through Dec. 12. Concurrent exhibitions at the Washington University Gallery of Art are Coins from St. Louis Collections, featuring a selection of ancient imperial coins; Modern Art on Paper, including works by American and European artists from the university's collection; and Affinity of Form: African and Modern European Art, featuring works from the university's collection and private collections in St. Louis, curated by Thomas Alexander.