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Rascar Capac: Which mummy was the inspiration?

#1 · Posted: 15 Jul 2020 11:56
According to the Daily Mail, two museums are disputing which one of them has the mummy which inspired that of Rascar Capac in the "7 Crystal Balls".

Brussell's Art and History Museum, which Herge is known to have often visited, claims that it is their mummy from the Andes which inspired it. But the Pairi Daiza safari park also has a mummy which they claim was the real inspiration.

Leading Tintin expert Philippe Goddin, however, claims that the inspiration came from several sources, including an illustration from the Larousse dictionary.
Harrock n roll
#2 · Posted: 17 Jul 2020 22:58
I'm always dubious about stories in the Daily Mail, they often specialise in manufactured outrage. However, this does seem to be a genuine disagreement. Much ado about nothing, really.

I'm no expert, but I think I'm with Philippe Goddin on this. Hergé likely looked at several sources and blended them to create his version, and that would be quite typical how he worked.
#3 · Posted: 19 Jul 2020 10:12
I'm with Harrock on this - it's an interesting puzzle, sorting out the sources, and always food for thought, but the sparring of the two organizations is mostly marketing, as it's getting them press coverage for free, and fairly inconsequential in the scheme of things.

I also think that the question of "inspiration" is being confused - deliberately or not, I can't tell - with "referenced from".

Hergé could have been inspired by all sorts of things - it could, for example have been a nightmare he himself had had, or he could have read some of the many tales of Egyptian mummies and curses, or seen the Universal horror films depicting the reanimated mummy, or just reading about the supposed curse of Tutankhamun, and then applied it, redressed for his South American tale, in his own book - the use of the dictionary or museum artifact only being for artistic reference, not inspiration as such.

I've pointed out before a pretty close analogue to the nightmare scene to be found in the art of Edumnd Dulac; I reiterate that any link is entirely speculation on my part, but I repeat it here as an example of the above point: that had Hergé seen this, and thought of it as a suitable basis for a vignette in his story, it could be this that was the inspiration for the scene, and the mummy, and any use of the dictionary, or museum exhibit(s), would be purely for reference.
#4 · Posted: 2 Aug 2020 08:34
I agree that inspiration is not something that can be attained from a single source, multiple sources or no source at all. Inspiration is something that is attained from a coglomeration of items and situations that manifest in your imagination and is given shape by your own consciousness and viewpoint. For example, I remember watching a picture of a Peruvian mummy that was said to belong to Herge's files in Farr's the Complete Companion. He could very well have based Rascar Capac on that alone.

Basically my point is, inspiration is not something that can be pinpointed to a single source especially if the artist himself doesn't say so. You would never see a mummy walking around with a crystal ball, no. Inspiration, imagination and the artistic license - the sole credit should go to the artist himself for bringing Rascar Capac to life. The rest are just footnotes that bear little to no evidence, especially since the artist is no more.

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