Mummy of Prince Amenemhat before Unwrapping, February 1919
Ambrose Lansing (American, 1891–1959)
The Egyptian Expedition of The Metropolitan Museum of Art
Gelatin silver print; 4 x 7 1/8 in. (10.2 x 18 cm)
Immediately after World War I, before the excavation staff could be reassembled for a full-scale field season, Ambrose Lansing conducted the Museum's excavations at Thebes. While his work¬men were clearing at the edge of the cliffs south of Deir el-Bahri, they uncovered a child's coffin. The mummy inside belonged to a prince Amenemhat, who had lived in the early Eighteenth Dynasty. The openwork pectoral, carved from a thin piece of wood, depicts Amenhotep I (ca. 1500 B.C.), who may have been the child's father, smiting the enemies of Egypt.
Prince Amenemhat is perfectly bound in linen and adorned with the image and cartouche of Amenhotep I—wrapped and labeled for safe passage to the afterlife. Lansing photographed the mummy in a softer, less clinical manner than is evident in many of Burton's photographs, placing it against a backdrop of linen similar to the wrapping itself. In addition, Lansing has lifted the mummy slightly so that light passes below, helping to define its right edge and, more expressively, suggesting lightness and levitation.