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Encyclopedia > Embalming

Embalming, in most modern cultures, is the art and science of temporarily preserving human remains to forestall decomposition and to make them suitable for display at a funeral. The three goals of embalming are thus preservation, sanitization and presentation (or restoration) of a dead body to achieve this effect. Embalming has a very long and cross-cultural history, with many cultures giving the embalming processes a greater religious meaning. For other uses, see Culture (disambiguation). ... This article is about the philosophical concept of Art. ... A magnet levitating above a high-temperature superconductor demonstrates the Meissner effect. ... For other uses, see Decomposition (disambiguation). ... For other uses, see Funeral (disambiguation). ... Look up preservation in Wiktionary, the free dictionary. ... The word Sanitization means to clean or decontaminate. ... For other uses, see Presentation (disambiguation). ... in art, returning something to a better state, see art conservation and restoration In criminal justice, restoration is another term for restorative justice. ... cross-cultural may refer to cross-cultural studies, a comparative tendency in various fields of cultural analysis any of various forms of interactivity between members of disparate cultural groups (see also cross-cultural communication, interculturalism, intercultural relations, hybridity, cosmopolitanism, transculturation) the discourse concerning cultural interactivity, sometimes referred to as cross... Various Religious symbols, including (first row) Christian, Jewish, Hindu, Bahai, (second row) Islamic, tribal, Taoist, Shinto (third row) Buddhist, Sikh, Hindu, Jain, (fourth row) Ayyavazhi, Triple Goddess, Maltese cross, pre-Christian Slavonic Religion is the adherence to codified beliefs and rituals that generally involve a faith in a spiritual...


History of embalming

Mummies were the results of ancient Egyptian embalming
Mummies were the results of ancient Egyptian embalming

Embalming has been practiced in many cultures and is one of the earliest surgical procedures humanity undertook. In classical antiquity, perhaps the Old World culture that had developed embalming to the greatest extent was that of ancient Egypt, who developed the process of mummification. They believed that preservation of the mummy empowered the soul after death, which would return to the preserved corpse. Image File history File linksMetadata The_Thing_2. ... Image File history File linksMetadata The_Thing_2. ... Mummified cat from Ancient Egypt. ... Classical antiquity is a broad term for a long period of cultural history centered on the Mediterranean Sea, which begins roughly with the earliest-recorded Greek poetry of Homer (7th century BC), and continues through the rise of Christianity and the fall of the Western Roman Empire (5th century AD... Khafres Pyramid and the Great Sphinx of Giza, built about 2550 BC during the Fourth Dynasty of the Old Kingdom,[1] are enduring symbols of the civilization of ancient Egypt Ancient Egypt was a civilization in Northeastern Africa concentrated along the middle to lower reaches of the Nile River... This article is about the corpse preparation method, for other uses of Mummy see Mummy (disambiguation) An Egyptian mummy kept in the Vatican Museums. ...

Other cultures that had developed embalming processes include the Incas and other cultures of Peru, whose climate also favoured a form of mummification. For other meanings of Inca, see Inca (disambiguation). ...

Embalming in Europe had a much more sporadic existence. It was attempted from time to time, especially during the Crusades, when crusading noblemen wished to have their bodies preserved for burial closer to home. Embalming began to come back into practice in parallel with the anatomists of the Renaissance who needed to be able to preserve their specimens. This article is about the medieval crusades. ... Greek anatome, from ana-temnein, to cut up), is the branch of biology that deals with the structure and organization of living things; thus there is animal anatomy (zootomy) and plant anatomy (phytonomy). ... This article is about the European Renaissance of the 14th-17th centuries. ...

Contemporary embalming methods advanced markedly during the American Civil War, which once again involved many servicemen dying far from home, and their family wishing them returned for local burial. Dr. Thomas Holmes received a commission from the Army Medical Corps to embalm the corpses of dead Union officers to return to their families. Military authorities also permitted private embalmers to work in military-controlled areas. The passage of Abraham Lincoln's body home for burial was made possible by embalming and it brought the possibilities and potential of embalming to a wider public notice. Combatants United States of America (Union) Confederate States of America (Confederacy) Commanders Abraham Lincoln, Ulysses S. Grant Jefferson Davis, Robert E. Lee Strength 2,200,000 1,064,000 Casualties 110,000 killed in action, 360,000 total dead, 275,200 wounded 93,000 killed in action, 258,000 total... This article needs additional references or sources for verification. ... This article or section does not cite its references or sources. ... For other uses, see Abraham Lincoln (disambiguation). ...

In 1867, the German chemist August Wilhelm von Hofmann discovered formaldehyde, whose preservative properties were soon discovered and which became the foundation for modern methods of embalming. August Wilhelm von Hofmann (April 8, 1818 _ May 5, 1892) was a German chemist. ... R-phrases , , , S-phrases , , , , , Flash point -53 °C Related Compounds Related aldehydes acetaldehyde benzaldehyde Related compounds ketones carboxylic acids Except where noted otherwise, data are given for materials in their standard state (at 25 Â°C, 100 kPa) Infobox disclaimer and references Formaldehyde (methanal) is the chemical compound with the formula...

In the 19th and early 20th centuries arsenic was frequently used as an embalming fluid but has since been supplanted by other more effective and less toxic chemicals. There were questions about the possibility of arsenic from embalmed bodies later contaminating ground water supplies. Faisal should be murdered by arsenic poisoning could claim that the levels of poison in the deceased's body were a result of embalming post mortem rather than evidence of homicide. General Name, Symbol, Number arsenic, As, 33 Chemical series metalloids Group, Period, Block 15, 4, p Appearance metallic gray Standard atomic weight 74. ... Homicide (Latin homicidium, homo human being + caedere to cut, kill) refers to the act of killing another human being. ...

Embalming is distinct from taxidermy. Embalming preserves the human body intact, whereas taxidermy is the recreation of an animal's form using only the creature's skin. A mounted snow leopard. ...

Who is an embalmer?

The roles of a mortician and an embalmer are different. A mortician is a person who arranges for the final disposition of the deceased. An embalmer is someone who has been trained in the art and science of embalming. This commonly involves formal study in anatomy, thanatology, chemistry and specific embalming theory (to widely varying levels depending on the region of the world one lives in) combined with practical instruction in a mortuary with a resultant formal qualification granted after the passing of a final practical examination and acceptance into a recognized embalming body. Legal requirements over who can practice vary geographically. This article is about the vocation of a mortician and the death metal band; for the World Wrestling Entertainment superstar, see The Undertaker. ... Human heart and lungs, from an older edition of Grays Anatomy. ... Thanatology is the scientific study of death. ... A mortuary is a cold chamber used to keep the deceased from seriously decomposing; this practice exists for the sake of recognition of the deceased and to allow time to prepare for burial. ...

Some regions or countries have no specific requirements as to who may practice embalming. Additionally, in many places embalming is not done by trained embalmers but rather by doctors who, while they have the required anatomical knowledge, are not trained specialists in this field.

Modern embalming

Lenin is a famous example of modern embalming

Embalming as practiced in the funeral homes of the Western World (notably North America) uses several steps. Modern embalming techniques are not the result of a single practitioner, but rather the accumulation of many decades, even centuries, of research, trial and error, and invention. A standardized version follows below, but variation on techniques is very common. File links The following pages link to this file: Vladimir Lenin Lenins Mausoleum Categories: NowCommons ... File links The following pages link to this file: Vladimir Lenin Lenins Mausoleum Categories: NowCommons ... Vladimir Ilyich Lenin ( Russian: Влади́мир Ильи́ч Ле́нин  listen?), original surname Ulyanov (Улья́нов) ( April 22 (April 10 ( O.S.)), 1870 – January 21, 1924), was a... This article or section does not cite its references or sources. ... Occident redirects here. ...

The first step in embalming is to check that the individual is in fact deceased, and then verify the identity of the body (normally via wrist or leg tags). At this point embalmers commonly perform basic tests for signs of death, noting things such as clouded-over corneas, lividity, and rigor mortis or by simply attempting to palpate a pulse in the carotid or radial artery. In modern times people awakening on the preparation table is largely the province of horror fiction and urban myth. Any clothing on the corpse is removed and set aside and any personal effect such as jewelry is inventoried. A modesty cloth is sometimes placed over the genitalia. The corpse is washed in disinfectant and germicidal solutions. During this process the embalmer bends, flexes and massages the arms and legs to relieve rigor mortis. The eyes are posed using an eye cap that keeps them shut and in the proper expression. The mouth may be closed via suturing with a needle and ligature, using an adhesive, or by setting a wire into the maxilla and mandible with a needle injector, a specialized device most commonly utilized in North America and unique to mortuary practice. Care is taken to make the expression look as relaxed and natural as possible and ideally a recent photograph of the deceased while still living is used as a template. The process of closing the mouth, eyes, shaving, etc is collectively known as setting the features. Livor mortis or postmortem lividity one of the signs of death, is a settling of the blood in the lower (dependent) portion of the body, causing a purplish red discoloration of the skin: when the heart is no longer agitating the blood, heavy red blood cells sink through the serum... This article is about the sign of death. ... “Horror story” redirects here. ... Urban Legend is also the name of a 1998 movie. ... Clothing protects the vulnerable nude human body from the extremes of weather, other features of our environment, and for safety reasons. ... Jewelry (the American spelling; spelled jewellery in Commonwealth English) consists of ornamental devices worn by persons, typically made with gems and precious metals. ... Setting the features is a mortuary term that refers to closing the eyes and mouth of a deceased person as well as shaving any stubble and generally making them more presentable and resembling a state of rest and repose. ...

The actual embalming process usually involves four parts:

1. Arterial embalming, which involves the injection of embalming chemicals into the blood vessels, usually via the right common carotid artery. Blood is displaced from the right jugular vein. The embalming solution is injected through a mechanical pump and the embalmer massages the corpse to ensure a proper distribution of the embalming fluid. In case of poor circulation, other injection points are used. Section of an artery For other uses, see Artery (disambiguation). ... In human anatomy, the carotid artery is a major artery of the head and neck. ... The jugular veins are veins that bring deoxygenated blood from the head back to the heart via the superior vena cava. ... Embalming fluid is a mixture of chemicals used to preserve deceased individuals, sometimes only until the funeral, other times indefinitely. ...

2. Cavity embalming, the suction of the internal fluids of the corpse and the injection of embalming chemicals into body cavities, using an aspirator and trocar. The embalmer makes a small incision just above the navel and pushes the trocar in the chest and stomach cavities to puncture the hollow organs and aspirate their contents. He then fills the cavities with concentrated chemicals that contain formaldehyde. The incision is either sutured closed or a "trocar button" is screwed into place. A copper aspirator. ... Example of a trocar A trocar (Fr. ... This article does not cite any references or sources. ... In phonetics, aspiration is the strong burst of air that accompanies the release of some stop consonants. ...

3. Hypodermic embalming, the injection of embalming chemicals under the skin as needed. Different bevels on hypodermic needles Syringe on left, hypodermic needle with attached color-coded luer lock on right. ...

4. Surface embalming, which supplements the other methods,especially for visible, injured body parts.

A typical embalming takes one to two hours. An embalming case that requires more attention could take longer. The repair of an autopsy case or the restoration of a long bone donor are two such examples.

Restoration tools, Museum of Funeral Customs
Restoration tools, Museum of Funeral Customs

Image File history File linksMetadata Download high resolution version (1200x800, 862 KB) Summary Morticians restorative tools, Museum of Funeral Customs, Springfield, Illinois, 2006. ... Image File history File linksMetadata Download high resolution version (1200x800, 862 KB) Summary Morticians restorative tools, Museum of Funeral Customs, Springfield, Illinois, 2006. ... Museum of Funeral Customs Early embalming fluid The Museum of Funeral Customs is located at 144 Monument Ave. ...


After the body is rewashed and dried, a moisturizing cream is applied to the face. The body will usually sit for as long as possible for observation by the embalmer. After being dressed for visitation/funeral services, cosmetics are applied to make it appear more lifelike and to create a "memory picture" for the deceased's friends and relatives. For babies who have died, the embalmer may apply a light cosmetic massage cream after embalming to provide a natural appearance; massage cream is also used on the lips to prevent them from dehydrating, and the infant's mouth is often left open a bit for a more natural expression. If possible, the funeral director uses a light, translucent cosmetic; sometimes, heavier, opaque cosmetics are used to hide bruises, cuts, or discolored areas. Makeup is applied to the lips to mimic their natural color. Sometimes a very pale or light pink lipstick is applied on males, while brighter colored lipstick is applied to females. Hair gels or baby oil is applied to style the hair, especially for deceased who are male. Mortuary cosmetizing is not done for the same reason as make-up for living people; rather, it is designed to add depth and dimension to a person's features that the lack of blood circulation has removed. Warm areas - where blood vessels in living people are superficial, such as the cheeks, chin, and knuckles - have subtle reds added to recreate this effect, while browns are added to the palpabrae (eyelids) to add depth, especially important as viewing in a casket creates an unusual perspective rarely seen in everyday life. During the viewing, pink-colored lighting is sometimes used near the body to lend a warmer tone to the deceased's complexion. A photograph of the dead person in good health is often sought in order to guide the embalmer's hand in restoring the corpse to a more lifelike appearance. Blemishes and discolorations (such as bruises, in which the discoloration is not in the circulatory system and cannot be removed by arterial injection) occasioned by the last illness, the settling of blood, or the embalming process itself are also dealt with at this time (although some embalmers utilize hypodermic bleaching agents, such as phenol based cauterants, during injection to lighten discoloration and allow for easier cosmetizing). An open coffin A coffin is a box used for the display and burial or cremation of a dead human body. ...


The clothing that a deceased person will wear is entirely the choice of the family. In the United States, men are typically buried in semi-formal clothing, such as a suit or coat and tie, and women in semi-formal dresses or pant suits. The clothing can also reflect the deceased person's profession or vocation. Priests and ministers are often dressed in their liturgical vestments and military personnel wear their uniform.

The undergarments are also important. Funeral directors will suggest that when they bring the clothing to the funeral home, they should bring all undergarments as well. Underwear, t-shirts, bra and panties and even hosiery are all used. The deceased are dressed just as they would be in life. Although, sometimes due to the condition of the deceased, the clothing may be cut down the middle of the back and draped over the body.

In many areas of Asia and Europe, the custom of dressing the body in a specially designed shroud, rather than in clothing used by the living, is preferred. A shroud is typically something, usually a cloth, that covers or protects some other object. ...

After the deceased has been dressed, they are placed in the casket (the term casket is derived from older usage to refer to a "jewel box", it is called a coffin when the container is anthropoid [a stretched hexagon] in form) for the various funeral rites. It is common for photographs, notes, cards and favorite personal items to be placed in the casket with the deceased. Even bulky and expensive items, such as electric guitars, are occasionally interred with a body. In some ways this mirrors the ancient practice of placing grave goods with a person for the afterlife. In traditional Chinese culture, paper substitutes of the goods are cremated with the deceased instead, as well as Hell Bank Notes specifically purchased for the occasion. An open coffin A coffin is a box used for the display and burial or cremation of a dead human body. ... An open coffin A coffin is a box used for the display and burial or cremation of a dead human body. ... For people named Coffin, see Coffin (surname). ... In archaeology and anthropology grave goods are the items interred along with the body. ... The crematorium at Haycombe Cemetery, Bath, England. ... The widely used $10,000 Hell note. ...

Embalming chemicals

Main article: Embalming chemicals

Embalming chemicals are a variety of preservatives, sanitizers, disinfectant agents and additives used in modern embalming to temporarily prevent decomposition and restore a natural appearance for viewing a body after death. A mixture of these chemicals is known as embalming fluid and is used to preserve deceased individuals, sometimes only until the funeral, other times indefinitely. Embalming chemicals are a variety of preservatives, sanitising and disinfectant agents and additives used in modern embalming to temporarily prevent decomposition and restore a natural appearance for viewing a body after death. ... For other uses, see Decomposition (disambiguation). ... In funeral service a viewing (called a visitation in the United States and Canada) is the time that the family and friends come to see the deceased after they have been prepared by a funeral home. ... For other uses, see Funeral (disambiguation). ...

Typical embalming fluid contains a mixture of formaldehyde, methanol, ethanol, and other solvents. The formaldehyde content generally ranges from 5 to 35 percent and the ethanol content may range from 9 to 56 percent. R-phrases , , , S-phrases , , , , , Flash point -53 °C Related Compounds Related aldehydes acetaldehyde benzaldehyde Related compounds ketones carboxylic acids Except where noted otherwise, data are given for materials in their standard state (at 25 Â°C, 100 kPa) Infobox disclaimer and references Formaldehyde (methanal) is the chemical compound with the formula... Methanol, also known as methyl alcohol, carbinol, wood alcohol, wood naptha or wood spirits, is a chemical compound with chemical formula CH3OH. It is the simplest alcohol, and is a light, volatile, colourless, flammable, poisonous liquid with a distinctive odor that is somewhat milder and sweeter than ethanol (ethyl alcohol). ... Grain alcohol redirects here. ...

Specialist embalming

Decomposing bodies, trauma cases, frozen and drowned bodies, and those to be transported for long distances also require special treatment beyond that for the "normal" case. The restoration of bodies and features damaged by accident or disease is commonly called restorative art or demisurgery and all qualified embalmers have some degree of training and practice in it. For such cases, the benefit of embalming is startlingly apparent. In contrast, though, many people have unreal expectation of what a dead body should look like due to seeing many "dead" bodies on television shows. Viewers unreasonably expect a body two weeks decomposed or having crashed in an airplane from 30,000 feet to look as it did in life. Ironically, the work of a skilled embalmer often results in the deceased appearing natural enough that the embalmer appears to have done nothing at all. Normally cosmeticians are very happy when someone can bring in a picture and the decedent's regular makeups, if worn, to help make their loved one look more as they did when alive. Image File history File links Broom_icon. ...

Embalming autopsy cases differs from standard embalming because the nature of the post-mortem examination irrevocably disrupts the circulatory system due to the removal of the organs and viscera. In these cases, a six-point injection is made through the two illiac or femoral arteries, subclavian or axillary vessels, and common carotids, with the viscera treated separately with cavity fluid or a special embalming powder in a viscera bag. In many morgues in the United States (such as the Los Angeles County Coroners Office) and New Zealand, these necessary vessels are carefully preserved during the autopsy; in countries in which embalming has been less common, such as Australia and Japan, they are routinely excised. This article is about the medical procedure. ... In anatomy, the viscera are the internal organs of an animal, in particular the internal organs of the head, thorax and abdomen. ...

Long-term preservation requires different techniques, such as using stronger preservative chemicals and multiple injection sites to ensure thorough saturation of body tissues.

Embalming is meant to temporarily preserve the body of a deceased person. Regardless of whether embalming is performed, the type of burial or entombment, and the materials used — such as wood or metal caskets and vaults — the body of the deceased will eventually decompose. Modern embalming is done to delay decomposition so that funeral services may take place or for the purpose of shipping the remains to a distant place for disposition.

Embalming for anatomy education

A rather different process is used for cadavers embalmed for dissection by medical and funeral service students. Here, the first priority is for long term preservation, not presentation. As such, medical embalmers use embalming fluids that are nearly pure formaldehyde (37–40%, known as formalin) as well as phenol and is made without dyes or perfumes. Many embalming chemical companies make specialized anatomical embalming fluids. Instead of using an embalming machine, anatomical embalmers may use gravity-feed embalming, where the container dispensing the embalming fluid is elevated above the body's level and fluid is slowly introduced over an extended time, sometimes as long as several days. Unlike funeral home embalming, no drainage occurs and the body distends with fluid that eventually reduces, leaving a normal appearance. There is no separate cavity treatment of the internal organs. Anatomically embalmed cadavers have a typically uniform grey colouration due both to the high formaldehyde concentration and to the lack of red colouration (added normally to standard, non-medical embalming fluids). The chemical compound formaldehyde (also known by IUPAC nomenclature as methanal), is a gas with a strong pungent smell. ...

Embalming and different religions

There is much difference of opinion amongst different faiths as to the permissibility of embalming. A brief overview of some of the larger faiths positions are examined below

  • All of the major branches of the Christian faith, including Catholic rites, allow embalming, with the exception of Eastern Orthodoxy, which only allows embalming if required by law or other necessity.
  • Many authorities hold Hinduism does not accept embalming. In practice, this is not an adamant prohibition and embalmings for those of Hindu faith are known to happen, generally for repatriation to India or the South Pacific and for the purposes of viewing and funerary rites at the family home.
  • People of Bahá'í Faith are not embalmed. The body is instead washed, and then placed in a shroud of white clothes (cotton, linen or silk). The body must be buried in a cemetery that is no more than one hour's travel from the place of death and within 24 hours of death. The body is interred facing Bahji (the final resting place of the founder of the Bahá'í Faith). Specific prayers for the dead are pronounced to support the progress of the soul.
  • Zoroastrians traditionally hold a type of sky burial within structures known as Towers of Silence in which the body is exposed to weathering and predation to dispose of the remains, and thus embalming the body is contrary to their funeral designs. This is due to the Zoroastrian belief that the dead body is unclean and the pure elements of earth and fire should not be allowed to come into contact with it. This practice is not universally performed any more, and many Iranian Zoroastrians perform traditional cremations and burials instead.
  • Muslims are required to be buried within 24 hours of death if possible. Embalming is forbidden. The body is still washed and prepared specifically for interment. This procedure is to be done according to the last will of the deceased, usually by a close relative of the deceased who is of the same gender. He or she is then dressed in a plain white burial shroud (for women, the hair, ears and neck are covered as they were in life, preserving her dignity before men who are not closely related; men are buried in their ihram, or pilgrim garb, as worn during the Hajj in Mecca). Muslims believe that the spirit remains with the body from death until after burial, which is the reason for same-day burial, as well as the aforementioned procedures; the body is treated with the same care and respect as in life so as to not cause undue stress to the deceased. For the same reason, cremation is also forbidden. Prayers and readings of the Qur'an are spoken aloud to give comfort to the deceased, and the body is not left alone even for a time following the burial, during which the deceased is buried (preferably without a casket) on his or her right side, facing Mecca.
  • Traditional Jewish law generally forbids embalming, and burial is to be done as soon as possible - preferably within 24 hours. However, under certain circumstances, embalming may be permitted if it is impossible to bury a person immediately (such as a crime victim), or to permit the deceased to be buried in Israel. Guidance of a Rabbi or the local chevra kadisha (Jewish Burial Society) should be sought regarding any questions, as particular circumstances may justify leniencies. Notably the Biblical Joseph was embalmed (Genesis 50:26). Visit the following link to watch a video regarding Jewish Funeral Practices: http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=N2sJH4YYxZc

For other uses, see Christian (disambiguation). ... ... For other uses, see Church of Jesus Christ of Latter Day Saints (disambiguation). ... A statue of the Sakyamuni Buddha in Tawang Gompa, India. ... Taoism (or Daoism) is the English name referring to a variety of related Chinese philosophical traditions and concepts. ... Hinduism (known as in modern Indian languages[1]) is a religious tradition[2] that originated in the Indian subcontinent. ... This article is about the generally-recognized global religious community. ... Zoroastrianism was adapted from an earlier, polytheistic faith by Zarathushtra (Zoroaster) in Persia very roughly around 1000 BC (although, in the absence of written records, some scholars estimates are as late as 600 BC). ... Sky burial is a ritual practice common in Tibet that involves placing the body of the deceased in a high ground (mountain) and expose it ritually, especially to birds of prey. ... A late 19th century engraving of a Zoroastrian Tower of Silence in Mumbai. ... . Bön . Hinduism (Tattva) and Buddhism (MahābhÅ«ta) Prithvi / Bhumi — Earth Ap / Jala — Water Vayu / Pavan — Air / Wind Agni / Tejas — Fire Akasha — Aether . ... A Muslim is a believer in or follower of Islam. ... The word Jew ( Hebrew: יהודי) is used in a wide number of ways, but generally refers to a follower of the Jewish faith, a child of a Jewish mother, or someone of Jewish descent with a connection to Jewish culture or ethnicity and often a combination... A chevra kaddisha (Hebrew: holy society, better translated as burial society) is a loosely structured but generally closed organization of Jewish men and women who see to it that the bodies of Jews are prepared for burial according to halacha (Jewish law) and are protected from desecration, willful or not... Joseph interprets the dream of the Pharaoh. ... For other uses, see Genesis (disambiguation). ...

Embalming in popular culture

Fictional works tend to portray the fantastic, extraordinary and often dysfunctional aspects of any profession or activity with which the public has little contact, and to ignore the mundane or routine. Embalming is no exception.

  • The film My Girl shows Dan Aykroyd as a funeral parlor owner, who throughout the movie is in the process of working on the deceased, usually embalming. In one instance when his daughter comes into his work area and begins to sing a song to his co-worker, he says "I'm embalming my high school teacher, don't sing".
  • The television show Six Feet Under, set in a funeral home, has brought embalming and funeral practice back into the public eye and is noted for its reality and dark humour. The character Hector Federico "Rico" Diaz is a full-time embalmer employed by the funeral home in the show. Most of the fantastic restorations that Frederico performed were far beyond the scope or ability of most embalmers and do not reflect the true goings on in a preparation room.
  • The reality TV show Family Plots, which was shown on the A&E Network often gave viewers a behind-the-scenes look into the embalming room. The embalmer working at the mortuary at the time, Shonna Wissmiller Smith, had become a minor celebrity.
  • In the episode of the cartoon South Park entitled Pinkeye Kenny is transformed into a zombie when worcestershire sauce is used as embalming fluid.
  • Many horror films dealing with animate mummies focus on gruesome aspect of Ancient Egyptian embalming practises, frequently having them embalmed alive as punishment for some transgression.
  • In the end of the Vincent Price film The Abominable Dr. Phibes the central villain rather ludicrously embalms himself to be forever with his dead wife in the final sequence. This does not stop his resurrection for the sequel.
  • There is a horror movie titled The Embalmer whose movie posters read "...beauty after beauty dragged to a sunken crypt...petrified play-captives of THE EMBALMER".
  • In the film Kissed the lead female character is a necrophiliac who is training to become an embalmer.
  • In the TV Show, CSI:NY (Season 4, Episode 1) a person is shown being embalmed with orange dish soap while he was still alive. This was to make him confess to a murder he witnessed.

My Girl is a 1991 coming-of-age dramatic comedy starring Dan Aykroyd, Jamie Lee Curtis, Macaulay Culkin and Anna Chlumsky. ... Daniel Edward Aykroyd CM (born July 1, 1952) is an Academy Award-nominated and Emmy Award-winning Canadian/American comedian, actor, screenwriter, and musician. ... For the death metal band, see Six Feet Under (band). ... The following are a list of descriptions for characters on the HBO television series, Six Feet Under which aired from 2001–2005 for five seasons. ... Family Plots is a reality television show that follows the ongoing events and the sometimes eccentric employees that work at the family-run Poway Bernardo Mortuary in Poway, California. ... Biography is one of A&Es longest-running and most popular programs. ... This article is about the TV series. ... Conjunctivitis is an inflammation of the conjunctiva (the outermost layer of the eye and the inner surface of the eyelids), often due to infection. ... This article is about the undead. ... 1900 advertisement Worcestershire sauce (IPA: (wuster-shur or wuster-sheer)) is a widely used fermented liquid condiment originally manufactured by Lea & Perrins, in Midland Road, Worcester, England. ... “Horror Movie” redirects here. ... Mummified cat from Ancient Egypt. ... Vincent Leonard Price Jr. ... The Abominable Dr. Phibes (1971) is a horror film starring Vincent Price. ... Kissed is a Canadian drama film, released in 1996. ... Necrophilia, although commonly thought to be only done by humans, does in fact also occur in nature. ...

Notable embalmings

  • It was rumored that after her death Diana, Princess of Wales was hastily embalmed to cloud tests that she may have been pregnant. However if this were the case an autopsy would still have easily been able to determine such an obvious condition and the rumour is just urban myth.
  • Contrary to media reports John Paul II (pope 1978–2005) was not embalmed before lying in state and photographs of him clearly show the blotchiness and discoloration that is characteristic of lividity and the early stages of decomposition.
  • Having died in the summer when heat would hasten decomposition, Paul VI (pope 1963–1978) decomposed at his lying in state, prompting Vatican officials to install fans around the body to disperse the odor.
  • Pius XII's (pope 1939–1958) botched embalming by a charlatan doctor -- which only sped up the rate of decomposition -- led to his body turning black and his nose falling off while lying in state, and the body disintegrated in the coffin. The Swiss Guards stationed around Pius XII's body were forced to change shifts every ten to fifteen minutes since the body's odor caused some guards to pass out. The doctor who performed the embalming had also taken photos of the Pontiff in his death throes and intended to sell them to tabloids. The Italian tabloids refused to buy the photos, and the doctor was banned from entering the Vatican City-State by John XXIII, who furthermore prohibited any photography of a deceased Pope until the body is properly vested and laid out.
  • Pope John XXIII's body is on display in an altar on the main floor of the Basilica of Saint Peter after having been exhumed from the grottoes beneath the main altar and has retained an extremely well-preserved state. If a body's remains do not decompose and this cannot be explained by science, it is often treated as a miracle. However, the case of John XXIII's body did not enjoy the same acclamation, as it may have merely been due to embalming and adipocere formation.
  • Murdered civil rights activist Medgar Evers was so well embalmed it allowed for a viable autopsy to be performed on his corpse decades after his death and this helped secure the conviction of his killer.
  • Perhaps the most famous embalmed body of the 20th century is that of Vladimir Lenin, which continues to draw crowds decades after his death.
  • Eva Perón ("Evita") was embalmed at the request of her husband, Argentine President Juan Perón, in order to make a Lenin-like shrine to her memory. A coup d'état toppled Perón, and his plan did not come to fruition. Sixteen years after her death, Eva Perón's body was exhumed and found to be in perfect condition, leading some sectors of Argentine society to call for her canonization.
  • When Abraham Lincoln's body was embalmed, the embalmer preserved it for the long term. At the turn of the century, it was disinterred for forensic study, revealing a perfectly preserved corpse.
  • Rosalia Lombardo, who died at age two on 6 December 1920 and was one of the last corpses to make it to the Capuchin catacombs of Palermo, Sicily before the local authorities banned the practice. Nicknamed the 'Sleeping Beauty', Rosalia's body is still perfectly intact. Embalmed by a certain Alfredo Salafia, she is in a glass case, looking very much like a surreal doll.
  • Arterial embalming began in the Netherlands in the 17th century. Embalming is no longer allowed in the Netherlands, except in the case of international transport of the corpse and in the case of members of the royal family, who choose individually for or against it.
  • Plastination makes it possible to preserve individual tissues and organs that have been removed from the body of the deceased as well as the entire body itself. It is not achieved via arterial injection like embalming but by a much longer and more complicated process. Water and fat in tissue are replaced with silicone in a process which, for most specimens, takes about one month. Preserved tissue is first dissected and then dehydrated with acetone. It is immersed in a silicone bath under vacuum until the replacement of acetone is completed. After plastination, the resulting tissue is safe to handle (i.e., toxic fixatives are eliminated), the tissue has no odor, is extremely durable and intact even to the microscopic level. Thus, the anatomical specimens are safer to use, more pleasant to use, and are much more durable and have a much longer period of use. Plastination is not used for funerals due to time, cost and feasibility restraints.
  • Benigno S. "Ninoy" Aquino, Jr. (1932–1983), popular opposition leader to Philippine strongman Ferdinand Marcos, was not embalmed after his assassination. His mother decided against it so that the Filipino people can see "what they did to my son." Mourners saw the fresh exit wound on Aquino's chin where the bullet made its exit after coming in from the back.

Image File history File links Question_book-3. ... Princess Diana redirects here. ... A pregnant woman Pregnancy is the process by which a mammalian female carries a live offspring from conception until it develops to the point where the offspring is capable of living outside the womb. ... Urban Legend is also the name of a 1998 movie. ... Official papal image of John Paul II. His Holiness Pope John Paul II, né Karol Józef Wojtyła (born May 18, 1920 in Wadowice, Poland), is the current Pope — the Bishop of Rome and head of the Roman Catholic Church. ... Paul VI, Giovanni Battista Enrica Antonia Maria Montini (September 26, 1897 – August 6, 1978), served as Pope from 1963 to 1978. ... The Venerable Pius XII, born Maria Giuseppe Giovanni Eugenio Pacelli (Rome, March 2, 1876 - October 9, 1958) served as the Pope from March 2, 1939 to 1958. ... Swiss Guards have been Swiss who fought for various European powers from the 15th century until the 19th century, called up from the separate Swiss cantons and placed at the disposal of various foreign powers by treaties (the capitulations), in return for money payments. ... See also: 15th-century Antipope John XXIII. Pope John XXIII (Latin: ; Italian: ), born Angelo Giuseppe Roncalli (November 25, 1881 – June 3, 1963), known as Blessed John XXIII since his beatification, was elected as the 261st Pope of the Roman Catholic Church and sovereign of Vatican City on October 28, 1958. ... The Basilica of Saint Peter, portrayed by Viviano Codazzi in a 1630 painting, is the largest church in Christendom and often used by the Pope. ... Adipocere or grave wax or mortuary wax is the insoluble fatty acids left as residue from pre-existing fats from decomposing material such as a human cadaver. ... Medgar Wiley Evers (July 2, 1925 – June 12, 1963) was an African American civil rights activist from Mississippi. ... This article is about the medical procedure. ... Lenin redirects here. ... María Eva Duarte de Perón (May 7, 1919 – July 26, 1952) was the second wife of Argentine President Juan Domingo Perón (1895–1974) and the First Lady of Argentina from 1946 until her death in 1952. ... Juan Domingo Perón (October 8, 1895 – July 1, 1974) was an Argentine general and politician, elected three times as President of Argentina and serving from 1946 to 1955 and from 1973 to 1974. ... This article is about the process of declaring saints. ... For other uses, see Abraham Lincoln (disambiguation). ... Forensics or forensic science is the application of science to questions which are of interest to the legal system. ... This article is being considered for deletion in accordance with Wikipedias deletion policy. ... is the 340th day of the year (341st in leap years) in the Gregorian calendar. ... Year 1920 (MCMXX) was a leap year starting on Thursday (link will display 1920) of the Gregorian calendar. ... This does not cite its references or sources. ... Plastination is a technique used in anatomy to preserve bodies or body parts. ... This article or section does not cite any references or sources. ...


  • Frederick, L.G.; Strub, Clarence G. [1959] (1989).]

The Principles and Practice of Embalming, 5monkeyth ed., Dallas, TX: Professional Training Schools Inc & Robertine Frederick. OCLC 20723376.

  • Mayer, Robert G. (2000-01-27).

Embalming: History, Theory and Practice, 3rd ed., McGraw-Hill/Appleton & Lange. ISBN 978-0838521878.

External links

  Results from FactBites:
Embalming (1308 words)
Embalming is a physically invasive process in which special devices are implanted, and chemicals and techniques are used to give an appearance of restful repose.
The funeral industry promotes embalming and viewing as a means to show "proper respect for the body," and to establish the "clear identity" of the corpse so that the reality of death cannot be denied by those who view the body.
Embalming gives funeral homes a sales opportunity to increase consumer spending (by as much as $3,000 or more) for additional body preparation, a more expensive casket with "protective" features perhaps, a more expensive outer burial container, and a more elaborate series of ceremonies.
Embalming - LoveToKnow 1911 (970 words)
More commonly they were embalmed in a mixture of sand and asphalt, and buried in vases, or canopi, placed near the mummy, the abdomen being filled with chips and sawdust of cedar and a small quantity of natron.
In one jar were placed the stomach and large intestine; in another, the small intestines; in a third, the lungs and heart; in a fourth, the gall-bladder and liver.
The Guanches, the aborigines of the Canaries, employed a mode of embalming similar to that of the Egyptians, filling the hollow caused by the removal of the viscera with salt and an absorbent vegetable powder (see Bory de Saint Vincent, Essais sur les Iles Fortunees, 1803, p.
  More results at FactBites »



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