Androgyny Image

This Egyptian predynastic mummy, circa 3400 B.C., nicknamed Ginger was preserved by a natural desiccating process caused by the arid sands of the Egyptian climate where he was buried. The aptly named Ginger is physically androgynous in the same way that modern day mummies lack gender. Perhaps realizing that the afterlife carries no gender role, the ancient Egyptians placed their deceased in a fetal position, a representation of the beginning of the human life cycle which, along with extreme old age, is a period of little gender specificity relative to the years between birth and death.

Egyptian burial rituals varied throughout the dynasties, but in many cases, anthropoid shaped coffins were used. These coffins had several levels of ornamentation depending on the rank of the deceased and often had inscriptions called offering formulae which were intended to aid the deceased in partaking of the offerings from Egyptian deities to be met in the afterworld.

The depictions of the deceased on these anthropoid coffins are largely androgynous. Perhaps these ambiguously featured renderings reflected the spiritual versus physical nature of life beyond death: a struggle for reunification with the givers of life, as opposed to the journey for unification with the opposite sex sought before death.

Return to Essence of Indistinction

Ancient Mummies

Androgyny Image

Androgyny Image Egyptian Predynastic Mummy.