Tintin Forums

Tintin Forums / Official Tintin books /

Seven Crystal Balls: Rascar Capac's mummy

#1 · Posted: 13 Dec 2005 20:12
I have a question about Rascar Capac's mummy: how can he be a mummy?
In the first place, the Incas didn't embalm their dead.
Sure there are Inca mummies in existence, but they were naturally preserved by the various climates of Peru.
Since Rascar Capac was buried in a structural tomb, as seen in the Nelvana cartoons, he couldn't have become a mummy: a tomb like that isn't the right environment for natural mummies.
Tintin Quiz
#2 · Posted: 14 Dec 2005 00:37
Here's an entry on Rascar Capac in The Tintin Trivia Quiz. Scroll down to the Rs.
#3 · Posted: 14 Dec 2005 10:05 · Edited by: jock123
how can he be a mummy in the first place, the Incas didn't embalm their dead.

They didn't use voodoo dolls or operate telepathic control over victims, or have people sneak around with crystal balls full of a mysterious substance either, for that matter... Hergé was just being fanciful with his material.

But they did (according to at least this National Geographic article) have mummification.

As it happens, the mummy of "Rascar Capac" is based on a real artifact as Tintin Quiz's reference says - see here for an image of the actual Peruvian mummy in a mock-up of the library at the museum in Brussels during an exhibition.

Update: I just realised that I slightly misinterpreted your remarks, and did not address as to why naturally preserved mummies would be in a structure. Well, I suppose that the cave in which the mummies are found (as seen on the cover, as opposed to Rascar Capac) might be a structure, but it seems perfectly possible that once the mummification had taken place by wind and sun (assuming the bodies were mummified by exposure), that there would be a point at which they would be moved to an ossuary or similar for veneration or storage, as it were.

Remember that the bound mummies, as seen on the cover, were based firmly on illustrations in a book of Peruvian exploration, Pérou et Bolivie (1880), by Charles Wiener (the mask is illustrated on p.649, for example).
So authentic was Hergé's work that, apparently, a government official refused to believe that he had not visited the country and done his work first hand, and checked the records of immigration to prove that Hergé had been there (he hadn't...).
#4 · Posted: 16 Jul 2018 00:09
An interesting update to this story...
I was contacted by the Art & History Museum in Brussels (formerly the Cinquantenaire Museum), who mentioned that pre-Colombian specialist, their curator of the American collections, Serge Lemaitre, is currently in South America researching the origin of the mummy known as "Rascar Capac" and two others in their collection (a woman and child).
It appears that while they know when and from whom the three mummies were obtained, there is little or no provenance as to where they lived, what they did, or why they were mummified.
M. Lemaitre is blogging about his work on the museum's website, and you can find the articles here.

Please be sure to familiarize yourself with the Forum Posting Guidelines.

Disclaimer: Tintinologist.org assumes no responsibility for any content you post to the forums/web site. Staff reserve the right to remove any submitted content which they deem in breach of Tintinologist.org's Terms of Use. If you spot anything on Tintinologist.org that you think is inappropriate, please alert the moderation team. Sometimes things slip through, but we will always act swiftly to remove unauthorised material.


  Forgot your password?
Please sign in to post. New here? Sign up!