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Soap Lady (Mütter Museum)

"Soap Lady (Mütter Museum)" is copyright © 2009 by James G. Mundie. All rights reserved.  Reproduction prohibited.

ink drawing, 9 x 6 inches, 2009

The Mütter's Museum's prize specimen may very well be the mummified remains of the Soap Lady. Why this strange name for a corpse? The good lady presents an example of a very rare event in bodily putrefaction — a process called ‘saponification’, in which bacteria, humidity, and chemistry conspire to turn fat into a substance called adipocere or ‘grave wax’. The compound is rather like soap, so if one was so inclined one could work up a decent later from a hunk of Soap Lady. But modern curatorial practices being what they are, you'll need to find another brand for washing up.

[detail enlargement]

All drawings by James G. Mundie.
[Reproduction in any form without express written permission
of the artist is prohibited.
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All Images and Text © James G. Mundie 2008 - 2010