captured a superb illusion during restoration of
Hor - a 2,000 year old Egyptian mummy
view of the front
view from the back
closeup view from the back
Pictures of Hor supplied by Nik Williams Copyright © 1996 Nik Williams and the Swansea Museum. Presented here with permission.
Organization: Nik Williams Broadcast To: landrigan@ Subject: Illusion (note edited) Dave, I made a video last year for the Swansea museum to run alongside their exhibit of Hor - a two thousand year old Egyptian Mummy. The gist of the story was the restoration and during the restoration work it was necessary to remove the mask. I decided it would be a good idea to show the inside of the mask and have it turned around to camera, so we could see the gold leaf shlne as it caught the lights. The effect of filming the inside of the mask is very strange. Although the face is impressed when looking inside, there are not visual cues as to exactly what you are looking at other than its a face, so it pops out at you, and looks unnervingly real. Even as it moves around in the restorers hands, and even though you know its impressed, the illusion persists. As the mask is drawn away from camera, and turned around, the inside of the mask becomes once 'normal' (concave) again! . . . Weird or what? The tears are the remains of the special glue the restorer used to consolidate the very old papyrus that actually makes up the mask, they may have faded by now. These pictures were taken in the summer of 1995. If you look at the wider of the two shots, even though the face is clearly visible as the inside of the mask, with all the surrounding bits providing all the visual clues you need, its still hard to see the face as depressed. It still seems to stick out at you. We think we were the first people to see inside the mask and underneath the mummy for over two thousand years. The accepted opinion is that the face is actually that of a statue, used to mould the mask when it was being created, rather than that of a real face. Regards, Nik.
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