The god of the dead is coming.
A 32-foot-tall statue of the Egyptian deity Anubis will soon stand sentinel at the corner of Pershing Road and Main Street. Looking like something out of a DeMille epic, the huge statue will herald the arrival of the King Tut exhibit next week at Union Station.
Anubis is the jackal-headed god with pointy ears who was the patron of the dead on their passage through the underworld. A seated statue of Anubis was discovered among the artifacts inside King Tutankhamun’s tomb.
This incarnation is more worldly.
It is being built out of about 450 cubic feet of polystyrene foam blocks carved with the aid of a chain saw by professional prop master Scott Ian Murray, who has designed theatrical sets and props for more than 35 years, including at the Kennedy Center in Washington.
“It’s the single biggest thing I’ve ever built,” Murray said Wednesday as he worked on his Anubis in a covered area behind Union Station. “I’ve built entire sets but, as a single thing, this is it.”
The material comes from ACH Foam Technologies in Kansas City, Kan. The statue, whose chest will measure 8 feet across, is built in three pieces totaling about 700 pounds. It will be anchored in sand with a wooden spine up the middle and parachute cables to keep the statue from blowing over in the wind.
Murray also worked on Science City, and he fabricated the huge foam anchor that sat outside Union Station to advertise the Titanic exhibit in 2012.
Although Murray now lives in New Mexico, Union Station commissioned him to create Anubis for the Tut exhibit. He is working from a small figurine of the god that he found online. The finished figure, with a human body and a jackal head, will be holding a staff in one hand.
The plan is to illuminate the god’s eyes, making him even spookier at night.
The statue will be taller than a permanent one of Harry Truman that was proposed for the front of Union Station a few years ago. It’s almost as tall as a restored ancient statue of Pharaoh Amenhotep III that was unveiled just this week at Luxor in Egypt.
This Anubis will be in place in time for “The Discovery of King Tut,” which will open in its North American premiere on April 4, a First Friday.
Nancy Besa, a marketing consultant for Union Station, hopes it will be one of the most photographed objects in Kansas City this summer.
“It should catch a few eyes,” Murray said.