These creatures were mummified by the ancient Egyptians; they are disturbing and touching.

A queen’s pet gazelle was readied for eternity with the same lavish care as a member of the royal family. In fine, blue-trimmed bandages and a custom-made wooden coffin, it accompanied its owner to the grave in about 945 B.C.

Lovingly preserved, a hunting dog whose bandages fell off long ago likely belonged to a pharaoh. As a royal pet, it ‘would have been fed nibbly bits and spoiled rotten,‘ says Egyptologist Salima Ikram. When it died, it was interred in a specially prepared tomb in the Valley of the Kings.

Votive mummies, each buried with a prayer, are infinitely varied but not always what they seem. A cunning crocodile is a fake—it has nothing inside.

The holiness of all three bulls extended to their mothers, which were prepared for the next world like this intricately wrapped cow.

A baboon harbours a secret that helps identify it as a pet: An x-ray revealed missing canine teeth, probably removed to keep the creature from nipping royal fingers.

A sacred ram is enclosed in a casing detailed with gold and paint. As the living embodiment of the creator god Khnum, the animal was kept at a temple and cared for by priests until its natural death in the second or third century A.D.

Folded strips of linen look like a cat’s collar, but the animal inside these elaborate wrappings was no pet. It was killed by a twist to the neck—the cause of death revealed by x-rays—so it could be mummified and offered up with a pilgrim’s prayer at a temple.

The unusual covering of a votive ibis mummy—a shell of linen and plaster—reproduces the bird’s long beak and head, with glass beads added for eyes. Millions of votive ibis mummies were dedicated in Egypt during the first millennium B.C.

A shrew on a tiny stone coffin identifies the contents precisely.

A raptor with an appliquéd face holds only a few bones.

Papyrus and linen trace the contours of a gazelle.

A coffered linen bundle conceals an ibis.

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