'God Of Dead' Statue Joins 'Bluecifer' At DIA

Egyptian God Anubis Statue Installed Outside Airport Terminal

As if travelers weren't already freaked out by a 32-foot tall blue stallion with fiery eyes, now a towering statue of the Egyptian god of the dead is welcoming fliers at Denver International Airport.

Workers erected a 26-foot tall, seven-ton replica of Anubis, the jackal-headed god of the dead, on Wednesday. The blue and gold statue gazes into the main terminal to promote the King Tut exhibit that opens June 26 at the Denver Art Museum.

Anubis stands not far from the rearing blue "Mustang," an often derided artwork branded "Bluecifer," "Satan's Steed" and "Blue Devil Horse" by critics.

Now the Internet is abuzz with talk about Anubis, who, as the ancient "Lord of the Underworld" and the "god of mummification," ushered the dead on their final journey.

"Why would they place a statue of a god associated with death outside of an airport? Especially one I'm going to in two months?" a puzzled traveler wondered on tvtropes.org.

Thrilled museum officials say Anubis' DIA showcase is a great way to promote the rare showing of King Tut's treasures to millions of travelers.

"We're really excited," Denver Art Museum spokeswoman Kristy Bassuener told 7NEWS Wednesday as the statue was being erected.

"This is the first time King Tut's treasures have ever been to the Rocky Mountains," she said. "Unless you're planning to travel to Egypt, this is really the main opportunity you'll have to see these ... really beautiful objects from King Tut's tomb and also tombs of pharaohs through out ancient Egyptian history."

"So we brought Anubis here to DIA, which is the 10th busiest airport in the country, and ... he's paving the way for King Tut to come to the Denver," said Bassuener. She described Anubis as "the ancient Egyptian god most often associated with funerary context and watching over the valuables of the tombs of the pharaohs."

Others were less enthused.

"What the hell is up with this airport and all its assorted weirdness over the years, anyway?" a poster called "Melonhead" chimed in.

"It's because the elevation is high ... and as a result everyone in Denver is probably high or crazy. All kinds of weird things happen here," the first worried traveler wrote.

The "Demon Horse" has taken flak -- including movements to have it yanked from DIA -- since its installation on Feb. 11, 2008.

Its glowering eyes -- that change from yellowish white to red during the day -- stare intensely at the roughly 28 million travelers that pass by DIA every year.

The mustang is also infamous for killing its creator.

New Mexico sculptor Luis Jiminez was killed in 2006 when "Mustang" fell on him as he was working on an unfinished section.

Although many people have expressed dislike for "Bluecifer" city regulations require public art installations to stay put for at least five years.

People have complained Mustang is an eyesore at the city's international gateway. Critics have called it creepy, said it gives them nightmares, and that it even scares children.

"That thing is so disturbing," one Internet critic wrote. "I tried being objective, but as an artist who paints a lot of horses myself, I can't get over how hideous it is. Why in the world anyone would commission that is beyond me."

The city of Denver commissioned the 9,000 pound, $600,000 fiberglass Mustang in 1993, two years before the airport opened.

It's not a monument to the NFL's Denver Broncos, as some have suggested. It's meant to capture the spirit of the plains, where herds of wild mustangs once roamed. The city said the mustang is a descendant of Spanish horses that symbolize the West and provided an early method of long distance travel, like airplanes do today.