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In The Mummy 2017, the title character has symbols written on her face. I assume that they are ancient Egyptian hyroglyphics and that the people who made the movie chose specific words to write on her face. What do the symbols translate to in English?

Here is a link to a photo:

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I asked my good friend Elizabeth (Lizzie) Yianni-Georgiou where she got these symbols from and what they mean. She confirmed that they were ancient Sumerian symbols and that they reflect an incantation from the Egyptian Book of the Dead

Q. What language are the symbols on Sofia Boutella's face and body? Is it Egyptian or some other alphabet? https://tinyurl.com/y9attmza

A. Language is ancient Sumerian. It's from the incantation Ahmanet reads from the Book of the Dead, calling on Set, God of death/underworld.

Via Twitter


She's confirmed this in a number of interviews.

The writing on Ahmanet's body comes from the ancient Egyptian funerary text Book of the Dead and "the incantation asking the dead to come and help her," explains the makeup artist of the lines of symbols running from Ahmanet's face down to her legs and feet. Yianni-Georgiou used the MAC Penultimate Eye Liner as a stylus to create the prominent black writing, marks and lines.

For inspiration, the makeup artist studied mummies in museums and followed the backstories included in the script. "I had to take into consideration the stories that [director] Alex Kurtzman and the other guys had written to develop her and bring her to life." (Or undeath, as the case may be.)

Yianni-Georgiou added blue color to Ahmanet's fingertips, too, because she "wanted to keep her slightly tribal." The inspiration for that came from Tutankhamun himself, she said. "He had gold fingers and toe covers. So I took that and made blue finger dip to give her a slightly more tribalesque feel and then on her hand, she's got this writing about how she's due to become the queen, which we took from ancient Egyptian to tell that part of the story."

WHAT ARE THOSE LETTERS ON 'THE MUMMY'? MAKEUP ARTIST TALKS TRANSFORMING SOFIA BOUTELLA IN THE FILM

and

"The raised runes all over her body come from the "Book of the Dead" so they do actually say something"

Note that these "runes" are highly stylised (to the point of being unrecognisable), appear to have been applied semi-randomly and bear very little resemblance to either Sumerian or Egyptian writings.

Since the original Book of the Dead was written in Egyptian and has been converted into Sumerian, it seems that the writing is going to be untranslatable on a direct basis.

enter image description here

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  • We imagined that the symbols actually say something and you confirm. However, the OP asks WHAT the symbols say. The makeup artist is not the best source. Someone else chose the symbols for the makeup artist, and that someone else is a better source. – CodeMed Jun 11 '17 at 17:56
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    @CodeMed - The interview indicates that the makeup artist chose the writing to apply. The actual symbols appear to be highly stylised and I'm struggling to see how they correspond with any known Egyptian writing. – Valorum Jun 11 '17 at 18:03
  • @CodeMed - My gut instinct is that this is a substitution cipher of some sort, translating these runes into an English translation of a short incantation from the Book of the Dead – Valorum Jun 11 '17 at 18:05
  • I can believe that Tom Cruise et al would fail to pay that much attention to detail. Thank you and +1 for looking into it. Though perhaps someone else will find that there is an actual translation. – CodeMed Jun 11 '17 at 23:56
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    I am thoroughly convinced of the fact that you have the names, numbers, addresses, emails, and knowledge of every single person of any import in this world, ever. Especially with this answer and the one about the Martian, just wow. – Imperator Jul 11 '17 at 19:38
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The scriptures on Princess Ahmanet's face (Sofia Boutella) resembles that of the demotic or possibly meroitic alphabet.

enter image description here

These writing systems are simplified variants of the Egyptian hieroglyphs, basically cursive versions of the hieroglyphs. The scriptures are taken from the manuscript "Papyrus of Ani/Book of the Dead" that contain declarations and spells to help the deceased in their afterlife. (for the actual hieroglyph plates see here)

Unfortunately it's hard to decipher which scriptures are written on her face without a translated version of the "Book of the Dead" in one of the aforementioned writing systems.

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  • I spotted that some of the symbols looked similar, but by the same token there are many that don't look anything like the symbols on her face. – Valorum Aug 12 '17 at 10:12
  • Also, how do you know that the scriptures are taken from that particular papyrus manuscript? Is this just guesswork? – Valorum Aug 12 '17 at 10:13
  • the video posted above (from 0:52) confirms the runes come from the "Book of the Dead". – Kurumi83 Aug 12 '17 at 10:54
  • Sure, but how do you know that they come from that particular version and that particular stanza? – Valorum Aug 12 '17 at 10:56
  • Since there was no archetype yet many copies of the "Book of the Dead" were made, this too poses a problem to further correctly answer the question. And if I knew the particular stanza I would have directly answered the question. – Kurumi83 Aug 12 '17 at 11:06
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It reminds me rather on the "Berber Alphabet" https://en.m.wikipedia.org/wiki/Central_Atlas_Tamazight

However I think the symbols on her face do not have any meaning. This movie is a generic Hollywood flick, the symbols were placed because they look cool.

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    Could you provide any evidence that it was just placed to look cool? or an image of what the Berber Alphabet looks like? – Edlothiad Jun 13 '17 at 14:08

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