Egyptian Shabtis by Harry M. NOTE : We have 75,000 books in our library, almost 10,000 different titles. Odds are we have other copies of this same title in varying conditions, some less expensive, some better condition. We might also have different editions as well (some paperback, some hardcover, oftentimes international editions).We're happy to send you a summary of the differing conditions and prices we may have for the same title. Size: 8¼ x 6 inches; ½ pound. The ancient Egyptians believed that the statutory agricultural labor imposed on them in order to utilize the Nile floods would continue in the afterlife. To avoid this irksome duty they devised the shabti, a figurine which they hoped would deputize for them on being activated by the appropriate magic spell. If the idea smacks of'draft-dodging', the figures are nevertheless of considerable artistic interest, and provide information about Egyptian religion, society, personal names, titles, etc. The iconography, inscriptions, materials and manufacture are described with criteria for identifying and dating the various types. A concise up-to-date treatment in English has long been lacking, and this account will be useful to students, art historians, collectors and others.
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REVIEW: Includes bibliographical references p. Stewart studied Ancient History and Egyptology at the University of London and after graduating developed a special interest in epigraphy and facsimile recording, cooperating in the work of the Egypt Exploration Society and contributing articles in archaeological journals. In 1970 while concurrently teaching at the Institute of Archaeology, he was appointed an Honorary Research Fellow in the Department of Egyptology at University College London, and has since published much o the inscribed material in the Petrie Museum of Egyptian Archaeology, comprising Egyptian stelae, reliefs and paintings, mummy cases, and inscribed funerary cones. More recently he has worked on the museum's very large collection of shabtis, considerably augmented since Petrie's edition of them in 1935. REVIEW: A very informative and useful reference, this short book provides much information about the Egyptian shabtis, figurines created to act for the deceased in the afterlife.
The author explains their manufacture in wood, stone, Egyptian faience and other materials; he also traces their evolution from the Middle Kingdom to the Ptolemaic Period. Inscriptions and spells are briefly discussed.
This is a very useful reference for students, Egyptologists and art historians. REVIEW: An excellent reference and a must-have for the collector, this book is a short but very comprehensive presentation of Egyptian ushabtis, and contains much information not readily found elsewhere. It discusses the nature and uses of the ushabti, their evolution from their initial appearances through to the end of the Ptolemaic Period.
Perhaps the most valuable section is a chart and discussion showing by dynasty the use of the various materials used in making ushabtis, the form of dress, the headdress and equipment held by the ushabti. While most of the available ushabtis are from the Late Period, the chart will help date those that are not. For example, wood was generally not used after the 20th dynasty, while the back pillar was not introduced until about the 22nd dynasty. The book contains a few photos, all of which are monochrome, and a number of sketches showing, for example, the different types of headdresses used for ushabtis.
This book is highly recommended, particularly at its very modest price. SHABTI DOLLS (USHABTI) : The Workforce in the Afterlife. The Egyptians believed the afterlife was a mirror-image of life on earth. When a person died their individual journey did not end but was merely translated from the earthly plane to the eternal.
The soul stood in judgement in the Hall of Truth before the great god Osiris and the Forty-Two Judges and, in the weighing of the heart, if one's life on earth was found worthy, that soul passed on to the paradise of the Field of Reeds. The soul was rowed with others who had also been justified across Lily Lake (also known as The Lake of Flowers) to a land where one regained all which had been thought lost. There one would find one's home, just as one had left it, and any loved ones who had passed on earlier. Every detail one enjoyed during one's earthly travel, right down to one's favorite tree or most loved pet, would greet the soul upon arrival.
There was food and beer, gatherings with friends and family, and one could pursue whatever hobbies one had enjoyed in life. In keeping with this concept of the mirror-image, there was also work in the afterlife. The ancient Egyptians were very industrious and one's work was highly valued by the community.
People, naturally, held jobs to support themselves and their family but also worked for the community. Community service was compulsory in `giving back' to the society which provided one with everything.
The religious and cultural value of ma'at (harmony) dictated that one should think of others as highly as one's self and everyone should contribute to the benefit of the whole. The great building projects of the kings, such as the pyramids, were constructed by skilled craftsmen, not slaves, who were either paid for their skills or volunteered their time for the greater good. If, whether from sickness, personal obligation or simply lack of desire to comply, one could not fulfill this obligation, one could send someone else to work in one's place - but could only do so once. On earth, one's place was filled by a friend, relative, or a person one paid to take one's place; in the afterlife, however, one's place was taken by a shabti doll. Shabti dolls (also known as shawbti and ushabti) were funerary figures in ancient Egypt who accompanied the deceased to the after-life.
Their name is derived from the Egyptian swb for stick but also corresponds to the word for `answer' (wsb) and so the shabtis were known as `The Answerers'. The figures, shaped as adult male or female mummies, appear in tombs where they represented the deceased and were made of stone, wood or faience.Were made of stone or wood (in the Late Period they were composed of faience) and represented an anonymous `worker'. Each doll was inscribed with a `spell' (known as the shabti formula) which specified the function of that particular figure. Citizens were obligated to devote part of their time each year to labor for the state on the many public works projects the pharaoh had decreed according to their particular skill and a shabti would reflect that skill or, if it was a general `worker doll', a skill considered important. As the Egyptians considered the after-life a continuation of one's earthly existence (only better in that it included neither sickness nor, of course, death) it was thought that the god of the dead, Osiris, would have his own public works projects underway and the purpose of the shabti, then, was to `answer' for the deceased when called upon for work. For the deceased providing guidance in the unfamiliar realm of the afterlife.
The Book of the Dead contains spells which are to be spoken by the soul at different times and for different purposes in the afterlife. There are spells to invoke protection, to move from one area to another, to justify one's actions in life, and even a spell "for removing foolish speech from the mouth" (Spell 90). Among these verses is Spell Six which is known as "Spell for causing a shabti to do work for a man in the realm of the dead".This spell is a re-worded version of Spell 472 from the Coffin Texts. When the soul was called upon in the afterlife to labor for Osiris, it would recite this spell and the shabti would come to life and perform one's duty as a replacement. The shabti would then be imbued with life and take one's place at the task. Just as on earth, this would enable the soul to go on about its business. Each of these shabtis was created according to a formula so, for example, when the spell above references "making arable the fields" the shabti responsible would be fashioned with a farming implement.
Every shabti doll was hand-carved to express the task the shabti formula described and so there were dolls with baskets in their hands or hoes or mattocks, chisels, depending on what job was to be done. In modern times, therefore, the number of dolls found in excavated tombs has helped archaeologists determine the status of the tomb's owner. The poorest of tombs contain no shabtis but even those of modest size contain one or two and there have been tombs containing a shabti for every day of the year.
In the Third Intermediate Period circa1069-747 B. There appeared a special shabti with one hand at the side and the other holding a whip; this was the overseer doll. During this period the shabti seem to have been regarded less as replacement workers or servants for the deceased and more as slaves. The overseer was in charge of keeping ten shabtis at work and, in the most elaborate tombs, there were thirty-six overseer figures for the 365 worker dolls.
In the Late Period circa 737-332 B. The shabtis continued to be placed in tombs but the overseer figure no longer appeared. These shabtis were fashioned as the earlier ones with specific tools in their hands or at their sides for whatever task they were called upon to perform.
Shabti dolls are the most numerous type of artifact to survive from ancient Egypt (besides scarabs). As noted, they were found in the tombs of people from all classes of society, poorest to most wealthy and commoner to king. The shabti dolls from Tutankamun's tomb were intricately carved and wonderfully ornate while a shabti from the grave of a poor farmer was much simpler.It did not matter whether one had ruled over all of Egypt or tilled a small plot of land, however, as everyone was equal in death; or, almost so. The king and the farmer were both equally answerable to Osiris but the amount of time and effort they were responsible for was dictated by how many shabtis they had been able to afford before their death. In the same way that the people had served the ruler of Egypt in their lives, the souls were expected to serve Osiris, Lord of the Dead, in the afterlife. This would not necessarily mean that a king would do the work of a mason but royalty was expected to serve in their best capacity just as they had been on earth. The more shabti dolls one had at one's disposal, however, the more leisure time one could expect to enjoy in the Field of Reeds.
This meant that, if one had been wealthy enough on earth to afford a small army of shabti dolls, one could look forward to quite a comfortable afterlife; and so one's earthly status was reflected in the eternal order in keeping with the Egyptian concept of the afterlife as a direct reflection of one's time on earth. GRAVE GOODS IN ANCIENT EGYPT : The concept of the afterlife changed in different eras of Egypt's very long history, but for the most part, it was imagined as a paradise where one lived eternally. To the Egyptians, their country was the most perfect place which had been created by the gods for human happiness. The afterlife, therefore, was a mirror image of the life one had lived on earth - down to the last detail - with the only difference being an absence of all those aspects of existence one found unpleasant or sorrowful. One inscription about the afterlife talks about the soul being able to eternally walk beside its favorite stream and sit under its favorite sycamore tree, others show husbands and wives meeting again in paradise and doing all the things they did on earth such as plowing the fields, harvesting the grain, eating and drinking.In order to enjoy this paradise, however, one would need the same items one had during one's life. Tombs and even simple graves included personal belongings as well as food and drink for the soul in the afterlife. These items are known as'grave goods' and have become an important resource for modern-day archaeologists in identifying the owners of tombs, dating them, and understanding Egyptian history. Although some people object to this practice as'grave robbing,' the archaeologists who professionally excavate tombs are assuring the deceased of their primary objective: to live forever and have their name remembered eternally. According to the ancient Egyptians' own beliefs, the grave goods placed in the tomb would have performed their function many centuries ago.
Grave goods, in greater or lesser number and varying worth, have been found in almost every Egyptian grave or tomb which was not looted in antiquity. The articles one would find in a wealthy person's tomb would be similar to those considered valuable today: ornately crafted objects of gold and silver, board games of fine wood and precious stone, carefully wrought beds, chests, chairs, statuary, and clothing. The finest example of a pharaoh's tomb, of course, is King Tutankhamun's from the 14th century B.Discovered by Howard Carter in 1922 A. But there have been many tombs excavated throughout ancient Egypt which make clear the social status of the individual buried there. Even those of modest means included some grave goods with the deceased. The primary purpose of grave goods was not so show off the deceased person's status but to provide the dead with what they would need in the afterlife. The primary purpose of grave goods, though, was not so show off the deceased person's status but to provide the dead with what they would need in the afterlife.
A wealthy person's tomb, therefore, would have more grave goods - of whatever that person favored in life - than a poorer person. Favorite foods were left in the tomb such as bread and cake, but food and drink offerings were expected to be made by one's survivors daily. In the tombs of the upper-class nobles and royalty an offerings chapel was included which featured the offerings table. One's family would bring food and drink to the chapel and leave it on the table. The soul of the deceased would supernaturally absorb the nutrients from the offerings and then return to the afterlife.This ensured one's continual remembrance by the living and so one's immortality in the next life. If a family was too busy to tend to the daily offerings and could afford it, a priest (known as the ka-priest or water-pourer) would be hired to perform the rituals. However the offerings were made, though, they had to be taken care of on a daily basis. Deals with this precise situation. Khonsemhab finds and repairs the tomb and also promises that he will make sure offerings are provided from then on. The end of the manuscript is lost, but it is presumed the story ends happily for the ghost of Nebusemekh. Beer was the drink commonly provided with grave goods. In Egypt, beer was the most popular beverage - considered the drink of the gods and one of their greatest gifts - and was a staple of the Egyptian diet. A wealthy person (such as Tutankhamun) was buried with jugs of freshly brewed beer whereas a poorer person would not be able to afford that kind of luxury.
People were often paid in beer so to bury a jug of it with a loved one would be comparable to someone today burying their paycheck. Beer was sometimes brewed specifically for a funeral, since it would be ready, from inception to finish, by the time the corpse had gone through the mummification process. After the funeral, once the tomb had been closed, the mourners would have a banquet in honor of the dead person's passing from time to eternity, and the same brew which had been made for the deceased would be enjoyed by the guests; thus providing communion between the living and the dead. Among the most important grave goods was the shabti doll. Shabti were made of wood, stone, or faience and often were sculpted in the likeness of the deceased.
In life, people were often called upon to perform tasks for the king, such as supervising or laboring on great monuments, and could only avoid this duty if they found someone willing to take their place. Since the afterlife was simply a continuation of the present one, people expected to be called on to do work for Osiris in the afterlife just as they had labored for the king. The shabti doll could be animated, once one had passed into the Field of Reeds, to assume one's responsibilities. The soul of the deceased could continue to enjoy a good book or go fishing while the shabti took care of whatever work needed to be done. Just as one could not avoid one's obligations on earth, though, the shabti could not be used perpetually.
A shabti doll was good for only one use per year. People would commission as many shabti as they could afford in order to provide them with more leisure in the afterlife.
Shabti dolls are included in graves throughout the length of Egypt's history. They were mass-produced, as many items were, and more are included in tombs and graves of every social class from then on. The poorest people, of course, could not even afford a generic shabti doll, but anyone who could, would pay to have as many as possible. A collection of shabtis, one for each day of the year, would be placed in the tomb in a special shabti box which was usually painted and sometimes ornamented. Instructions on how one would animate a shabti in the next life, as well as how to navigate the realm which waited after death, was provided through the texts inscribed on tomb walls and, later, written on papyrus scrolls.
The Pyramid Texts are the oldest religious texts and were written on the walls of the tomb to provide the deceased with assurance and direction. When a person's body finally failed them, the soul would at first feel trapped and confused. The rituals involved in mummification prepared the soul for the transition from life to death, but the soul could not depart until a proper funeral ceremony was observed. When the soul woke in the tomb and rose from its body, it would have no idea where it was or what had happened. In order to reassure and guide the deceased, the Pyramid Texts and, later, Coffin Texts were inscribed and painted on the inside of tombs so that when the soul awoke in the dead body it would know where it was and where it now had to go.
These texts eventually turned into The Egyptian Book of the Dead (whose actual title is The Book of Coming Forth by Day), which is a series of spells the dead person would need in order to navigate through the afterlife. Spell 6 from the Book of the Dead is a rewording of Spell 472 of the Coffin Texts, instructing the soul in how to animate the shabti.
Once the person died and then the soul awoke in the tomb, that soul was led - usually by the god Anubis but sometimes by others - to the Hall of Truth (also known as The Hall of Two Truths) where it was judged by the great god Osiris. The soul would then speak the Negative Confession (a list of'sins' they could honestly say they had not committed such as'I have not lied, I have not stolen, I have not purposefully made another cry'), and then the heart of the soul would be weighed on a scale against the white feather of ma'at, the principle of harmony and balance. If the heart was found to be lighter than the feather, then the soul was considered justified; if the heart was heavier than the feather, it was dropped onto the floor where it was eaten up by the monster Amut, and the soul would then cease to exist.There was no'hell' for eternal punishment of the soul in ancient Egypt; their greatest fear was non-existence, and that was the fate of someone who had done evil or had purposefully failed to do good. If the soul was justified by Osiris then it went on its way. In some eras of Egypt, it was believed the soul then encountered various traps and difficulties which they would need the spells from The Book of the Dead to get through. In most eras, though, the soul left the Hall of Truth and traveled to the shores of Lily Lake (also known as The Lake of Flowers) where they would encounter the perpetually unpleasant ferryman known as Hraf-hef ("He Who Looks Behind Himself") who would row the soul across the lake to the paradise of the Field of Reeds. Hraf-hef was the'final test' because the soul had to find some way to be polite, forgiving, and pleasant to this very unpleasant person in order to cross. Once across the lake, the soul would find itself in a paradise which was the mirror image of life on earth, except lacking any disappointment, sickness, loss, or - of course - death. Reuniting with loved ones and living eternally with the gods was the hope of the afterlife but equally so was being met by one's favorite pets in paradise. Pets were sometimes buried in their own tombs but, usually, with their master or mistress. The two best examples of this are High Priestess Maatkare Mutemhat circa 1077-943 B.
Who was buried with her mummified pet monkey and the Queen Isiemkheb circa 1069-943 B. Who was buried with her pet gazelle. Mummification was expensive, however, and especially the kind practiced on these two animals. They received top treatment in their mummification and this, of course, represented the wealth of their owners.
There were three levels of mummification available: top-of-the-line where one was treated as a king (and received a burial in keeping with the glory of the god Osiris); middle-grade where one was treated well but not that well; and the cheapest where one received minimal service in mummification and burial. Still, everyone - rich or poor - provided their dead with some kind of preparation of the corpse and grave goods for the afterlife. Pets were treated very well in ancient Egypt and were represented in tomb paintings and grave goods such as dog collars. The tomb of Tutankhamun contained dog collars of gold and paintings of his hunting hounds. Although modern day writers often claim that Tutankhamun's favorite dog was named Abuwtiyuw, who was buried with him, this is not correct.
Abuwtiyuw is the name of a dog from the Old Kingdom of Egypt who so pleased the king that he was given private burial and all the rites due a person of noble birth. , Akbaru, was greatly admired by his master and buried with him. The collars of dogs, which frequently gave their name, often were included as grave goods. Contained two ornamented dog collars of leather.
These were dyed pink and decorated with images. One of them has horses and lotus flowers punctuated by brass studs while the other depicts hunting scenes and has the dog's name, Tantanuit, engraved on it. These are two of the best examples of the kind of ornate work which went into dog collars in ancient Egypt.
By the time of the New Kingdom, in fact, the dog collar was its own type of artwork and worthy to be worn in the afterlife in the presence of the gods. There was a significant philosophical shift where people questioned the reality of this paradise and emphasized making the most of life because nothing existed after death. Some scholars have speculated that this belief came about because of the turmoil of the First Intermediate Period which came before the Middle Kingdom, but there is no convincing evidence of this. Such theories are always based on the claim that the First Intermediate Period of Egypt was a dark time of chaos and confusion which it most certainly was not.
The Egyptians always emphasized living life to its fullest - their entire culture is based on gratitude for life, enjoying life, loving every moment of life - so an emphasis on this was nothing new. What makes the Middle Kingdom belief so interesting, however, is its denial of immortality in an effort to make one's present life even more precious. The literature of the Middle Kingdom expresses a lack of belief in the traditional view of paradise because people in the Middle Kingdom were more'cosmopolitan' than in earlier times and were most likely attempting to distance themselves from what they saw as'superstition'. The First Intermediate Period had elevated the different districts of Egypt, made their individual artistic expressions as valuable as the state-mandated art and literature of the Old Kingdom of Egypt, and people felt freer to express their personal opinions rather than just repeat what they had been told. This skepticism disappears during the time of the New Kingdom, and - for the most part - the belief in the paradise of the Field of Reeds was constant throughout Egypt's history.A component of this belief was the importance of grave goods which would serve the deceased in the afterlife just as well as they had on the earthly plane. ANCIENT EGYPTIAN MORTUARY RITUALS : Ever since European archaeologists began excavating in Egypt in the 18th and 19th centuries A. The ancient culture has been largely associated with death. Even into the mid-20th century CE reputable scholars were still writing on the death-obsessed Egyptians whose lives were lacking in play and without joy. Mummies in dark, labyrinthine tombs, strange rituals performed by dour priests, and the pyramid tombs of the kings remain the most prominent images of ancient Egypt in many people's minds even in the present day, and an array of over 2,000 deities - many of them uniquely associated with the afterlife - simply seems to add to the established vision of the ancient Egyptians as obsessed with death. Actually, though, they were fully engaged in life, so much so that their afterlife was considered an eternal continuation of their time on earth. When someone died in ancient Egypt the funeral was a public event which allowed the living to mourn the passing of a member of the community and enabled the deceased to move on from the earthly plane to the eternal.
Although there were outpourings of grief and deep mourning over the loss of someone they loved, they did not believe the dead person had ceased to exist; they had merely left the earth for another realm. In order to make sure they reached their destination safely, the Egyptians developed elaborate mortuary rituals to preserve the body, free the soul, and send it on its way. These rituals encouraged the healthy expression of grief among the living but concluded with a feast celebrating the life of the deceased and his or her departure, emphasizing how death was not the end but only a continuation. Egyptologist Helen Strudwick notes, "for the life-loving Egyptians, the guarantee of continuing life in the netherworld was immensely important". The mortuary rituals provided the people with just that sort of guarantee.
The earliest burials in ancient Egypt were simple graves in which the deceased was placed, on the left side, accompanied by some grave goods. It is clear there was already a belief in some kind of afterlife prior to circa 3500 B. When mummification began to be practiced but no written record of what form this belief took.
Simple graves in the Predynastic Period in Egypt circa 6000 - 3150 B. Evolved into the mastaba tombs of the Early Dynastic Period circa 3150 - 2613 B. All of these periods believed in an afterlife and engaged in mortuary rituals, but those of the Old Kingdom are the best known from images on tombs.
Although it is usually thought that everyone in Egypt was mummified after their death, the practice was expensive & only the upper class and nobility could afford it. By the time of the Old Kingdom of Egypt, the culture had a clear understanding of how the universe worked and humanity's place in it. The gods had created the world and the people in it through the agency of magic (heka) and sustained it through magic as well.All the world was imbued with mystical life generated by the gods who would welcome the soul when it finally left the earth for the afterlife. In order for the soul to make this journey, the body it left behind needed to be carefully preserved, and this is why mummification became such an integral part of the mortuary rituals. Although it is usually thought that everyone in Egypt was mummified after their death, the practice was expensive, and usually only the upper class and nobility could afford it. Onwards, kings and nobles favored tombs cut into rock face or into the earth.
The tombs and the rituals leading to burial had reached their highest state of development. There were three methods of embalming/funerary ritual available: the most expensive and elaborate, a second, cheaper option which still allowed for much of the first, and a third which was even cheaper and afforded little of the attention to detail of the first. The following rituals and embalming methods described are those of the first, most elaborate option, which was performed for royalty and the specific rituals are those observed in the New Kingdom of Egypt. After death, the body was brought to the embalmers where the priests washed and purified it.
The mortuary priest then removed those organs which would decay most quickly and destroy the body. In early mummification, the organs of the abdomen and the brain were placed in canopic jars which were thought to be watched over by the guardian gods known as The Four Sons of Horus. In later times the organs were taken out, treated, wrapped, and placed back into the body, but canopic jars were still placed in tombs, and The Four Sons of Horus were still thought to keep watch over the organs.The embalmers removed the organs from the abdomen through a long incision cut into the left side; for the brain, they would insert a hooked surgical tool up through the dead person's nose and pull the brain out in pieces. There is also evidence of embalmers breaking the nose to enlarge the space to get the brain out more easily. Breaking the nose was not the preferred method, though, because it could disfigure the face of the deceased and the primary goal of mummification was to keep the body intact and preserved as life-like as possible. The removal of the organs and brain was all about drying out the body - the only organ they left in place was the heart because that was thought to be the seat of the person's identity. This was all done because the soul needed to be freed from the body to continue on its eternal journey into the afterlife and, to do so, it needed to have an intact'house' to leave behind and also one it would recognize if it wished to return to visit. After the removal of the organs, the body was soaked in natron for 70 days and then washed and purified again. It was then carefully wrapped in linen; a process which could take up to two weeks. Egyptologist Margaret Bunson explains: This was an important aspect of the mortuary process, accompanied by incantations, hymns, and ritual ceremonies.
In some instances the linens taken from shrines and temples were provided to the wealthy or aristocratic deceased in the belief that such materials had special graces and magical powers. An individual mummy would require approximately 445 square yards of material. Throughout the wrappings semiprecious stones and amulets were placed in strategic positions, each one guaranteed to protect a certain region of the human anatomy in the afterlife. Among the most important of these amulets was the one which was placed over the heart.
This was done to prevent the heart from bearing witness against the deceased when the moment of judgment came. Since the heart was the seat of individual character, and since it was obvious that people often made statements they later regretted, it was considered important to have a charm to prevent that possibility. The embalmers would then return the mummy to the family who would have had a coffin or sarcophagus made. The corpse would not be placed in the coffin yet, however, but would be laid on a bier and then moved toward a waiting boat on the Nile River. This was the beginning of the funeral service which started in the early morning, usually departing either from a temple of the king or the embalmer's center.
The servants and poorer relations of the deceased were at the front of the procession carrying flowers and food offerings. They were followed by others carrying grave goods such as clothing and shabti dolls, favorite possessions of the deceased, and other objects which would be necessary in the afterlife. Directly in front of the corpse would be professional mourners, women known as the Kites of Nephthys, whose purpose was to encourage others to express their grief. The kites would wail loudly, beat their breasts, strike their heads on the ground, and scream in pain.
These women were dressed in the color of mourning and sorrow, a blue-gray, and covered their faces and hair with dust and earth. This was a paid position, and the wealthier the deceased, the more kites would be present in the procession. Of the New Kingdom vividly depicts the Kites of Nephthys at work as they wail and fling themselves to the ground.
In the Early Dynastic Period in Egypt, the servants would have been killed upon reaching the tomb so that they could continue to serve the deceased in the afterlife. By the time of the New Kingdom, this practice had long been abandoned and an effigy now took the place of the servants known as a tekenu.Like the shabti dolls, which one would magically animate in the afterlife to perform work, the tekenu would later come to life, in the same way, to serve the soul in paradise. The corpse and the tekenu were followed by priests, and when they reached the eastern bank of the Nile, the tekenu and the oxen who had pulled the corpse were ritually sacrificed and burned. The corpse was then placed on a mortuary boat along with two women who symbolized the goddesses Isis and Nephthys.
In life, the king was associated with the son of Osiris and Isis, Horus, but in death, with the Lord of the Dead, Osiris. The women would address the dead king as the goddesses speaking to Osiris.
The boat sailed from the east side (representing life) to the west (the land of the dead) where it docked and the body was then moved to another bier and transported to its tomb. A priest would have already arranged to have the coffin or sarcophagus set up at the entrance of the tomb, and at this point, the corpse was placed inside of it. The priest would then perform the Opening of the Mouth Ceremony during which he would touch the corpse at various places on the body in order to restore the senses so the deceased could again see, hear, smell, taste, and talk. During this ceremony, the two women representing Isis and Nephthys would recite The Lamentations of Isis and Nephthys, the call-and-response incantation which re-created the moment when Osiris had been brought back to life by the sisters. The lid was then fastened on the coffin and it was carried into the tomb.The tomb would have the deceased's name written in it, statues and pictures of him or her in life, and inscriptions on the wall (Pyramid Texts) telling the story of their life and providing instructions for the afterlife. Prayers would be made for the soul of the deceased and grave goods would be arranged around the coffin; after this, the tomb would be sealed. The family was expected to provide for the continued existence of the departed by bringing them food and drink offerings and remembering their name. Lists of food and drink to be brought were inscribed on the tomb (Offering Lists) as well as an autobiography of the departed so they would be remembered. The soul would continue to exist peacefully in the next life (following justification) as long as these offerings were made.
The priests, family, and guests would then sit down for a feast to celebrate the life of the departed and his forward journey to paradise. This celebration took place outside of the tomb under a tent erected for the purpose. Food, beer, and wine would have been brought earlier and was now served as an elaborate picnic banquet.
The deceased would be honored with the kind of festival he or she would have known and enjoyed in life. When the party concluded, the guests would return to their homes and go on with life.
For the soul of the departed, however, a new life had just begun. Following the mortuary rituals and the closing of the tomb, the soul was thought to wake in the body and feel disoriented.
Inscriptions on the wall of the tomb, like the Pyramid Texts, or in one's coffin, as with the Coffin Texts, would remind the soul of its life on earth and direct it to leave the body and move forward. These texts were replaced in the New Kingdom of Egypt by the Book of the Dead.One of the gods, most often Anubis, would appear to lead the soul forth toward the Hall of Truth (also known as The Hall of Two Truths) where it would be judged. Depictions of the judgment frequently show a long line of souls waiting for their moment to appear before Osiris and these are cared for by deities like Qebhet, who provided them with cool, refreshing water. Familiar goddesses like Nephthys, Isis, Neith, and Serket would also be there to comfort and encourage the soul. When one's time came, one would move forward to where Osiris, Anubis, and Thoth stood by the scales of justice and would recite the Negative Confessions, a ritual list of sins one could honestly say one had not committed. At this point one's heart was weighed in the balance against the white feather of truth; if one's heart was lighter than the feather, one was justified, and if not, the heart was dropped to the floor where it was eaten by the monster Amut and the soul would then cease to exist. If one had been justified by the weighing of the heart, Osiris, Thoth, and Anubis would confer with the Forty-two Judges and then allow one to pass on toward paradise. This next part of the journey takes different forms depending on different texts and time periods. In some versions, the soul must still avoid pitfalls, demons, and dangers, and required the assistance of a guide book such as The Egyptian Book of the Dead. In other depictions, once one had been justified, one went to the shores of Lily Lake where a final test had to be passed. The ferryman was an eternally unpleasant man named Hraf-hef to whom the soul needed to be kind and gracious. If one passed this final test, one was rowed across the lake to paradise in the Field of Reeds. Here the soul would find everything and everyone thought to be lost through death. Those who had passed on before would be waiting as well as one's favorite pets.
The house the soul had loved while alive, the neighborhood, friends, all would be waiting and the soul would enjoy this life eternally without the threat of loss and in the company of the immortal gods. This final paradise, however, was only possible if the family on earth had performed the mortuary rituals completely and if they continued to honor and remember the departed soul. MUMMIFICATION IN ANCIENT EGYPT : The practice of mummifying the dead began in ancient Egypt circa 3500 B. The English word mummy comes from the Latin mumia which is derived from the Persian mum meaning'wax' and refers to an embalmed corpse which was wax-like.The idea of mummifying the dead may have been suggested by how well corpses were preserved in the arid sands of the country. Early graves of the Badarian Period circa 5000 B. Contained food offerings and some grave goods, suggesting a belief in an afterlife, but the corpses were not mummified. These graves were shallow rectangles or ovals into which a corpse was placed on its left side, often in a fetal position. They were considered the final resting place for the deceased and were often, as in Mesopotamia, located in or close by a family's home. Graves evolved throughout the following eras until, by the time of the Early Dynastic Period in Egypt circa 3150 - 2613 B. , the mastaba tomb had replaced the simple grave, and cemeteries became common. Mastabas were seen not as a final resting place but as an eternal home for the body. The tomb was now considered a place of transformation in which the soul would leave the body to go on to the afterlife. It was thought, however, that the body had to remain intact in order for the soul to continue its journey. Once freed from the body, the soul would need to orient itself by what was familiar. For this reason, tombs were painted with stories and spells from The Book of the Dead, to remind the soul of what was happening and what to expect, as well as with inscriptions known as The Pyramid Texts and Coffin Texts which would recount events from the dead person's life. Death was not the end of life to the Egyptians but simply a transition from one state to another.
To this end, the body had to be carefully prepared in order to be recognizable to the soul upon its awakening in the tomb and also later. These rituals and their symbols were largely derived from the cult of Osiris who had already become a popular god. Osiris and his sister-wife Isis were the mythical first rulers of Egypt, given the land shortly after the creation of the world. They ruled over a kingdom of peace and tranquility, teaching the people the arts of agriculture, civilization, and granting men and women equal rights to live together in balance and harmony. Osiris' brother, Set, grew jealous of his brother's power and success, however, and so murdered him; first by sealing him in a coffin and sending him down the Nile River and then by hacking his body into pieces and scattering them across Egypt.
Isis retrieved Osiris' parts, reassembled him, and then with the help of her sister Nephthys, brought him back to life. Osiris was incomplete, however - he was missing his penis which had been eaten by a fish - and so could no longer rule on earth. He descended to the underworld where he became Lord of the Dead. Prior to his departure, though, Isis had mated with him in the form of a kite and bore him a son, Horus, who would grow up to avenge his father, reclaim the kingdom, and again establish order and balance in the land.
This myth became so incredibly popular that it infused the culture and assimilated earlier gods and myths to create a central belief in a life after death and the possibility of resurrection of the dead. Osiris was often depicted as a mummified ruler and regularly represented with green or black skin symbolizing both death and resurrection.Egyptologist Margaret Bunson writes: "The cult of Osiris began to exert influence on the mortuary rituals and the ideals of contemplating death as a "gateway into eternity. This deity, having assumed the cultic powers and rituals of other gods of the necropolis, or cemetery sites, offered human beings salvation, resurrection, and eternal bliss.
Eternal life was only possible, though, if one's body remained intact. A person's name, their identity, represented their immortal soul, and this identity was linked to one's physical form.The soul was thought to consist of nine separate parts: 1. The Khat was the physical body; 2.
The Ka one's double-form (astral self); 3. The Ba was a human-headed bird aspect which could speed between earth and the heavens (specifically between the afterlife and one's body); 4. The Shuyet was the shadow self; 5. The Akh was the immortal, transformed self after death; 6.The Sahu was an aspect of the Akh; 7. The Sechem was another aspect of the Akh; 8. The Ab was the heart, the source of good and evil, holder of one's character; 9. The Ren was one's secret name. The Khat needed to exist in order for the Ka and Ba to recognize itself and be able to function properly. Once released from the body, these different aspects would be confused and would at first need to center themselves by some familiar form. When a person died, they were brought to the embalmers who offered three types of service. According to Herodotus: "The best and most expensive kind is said to represent [Osiris], the next best is somewhat inferior and cheaper, while the third is cheapest of all". The grieving family was asked to choose which service they preferred, and their answer was extremely important not only for the deceased but for themselves. Burial practice and mortuary rituals in ancient Egypt were taken so seriously because of the belief that death was not the end of life.
The dead person would know they had been given a cheaper service than they deserved and would not be able to peacefully go on into the afterlife; instead, they would return to make their relatives' lives miserable until the wrong was righted. The individual who had died could still see and hear, and if wronged, would be given leave by the gods for revenge. It would seem, however, that people still chose the level of service they could most easily afford. Once chosen, that level determined the kind of coffin one would be buried in, the funerary rites available, and the treatment of the body.Egyptologist Salima Ikram, professor of Egyptology at the American University at Cairo, has studied mummification in depth and provides the following: The key ingredient in the mummification was natron, or netjry, divine salt. It is a mixture of sodium bicarbonate, sodium carbonate, sodium sulphate and sodium chloride that occurs naturally in Egypt, most commonly in the Wadi Natrun some sixty four kilometres northwest of Cairo. It has desiccating and defatting properties and was the preferred desiccant, although common salt was also used in more economical burials. In the most expensive type of burial service, the body was laid out on a table and washed. The embalmers would then begin their work at the head: The brain was removed via the nostrils with an iron hook, and what cannot be reached with the hook is washed out with drugs; next the flank is opened with a flint knife and the whole contents of the abdomen removed; the cavity is then thoroughly cleaned and washed out, firstly with palm wine and again with an infusion of ground spices.
After that it is filled with pure myrrh, cassia, and every other aromatic substance, excepting frankincense, and sewn up again, after which the body is placed in natron, covered entirely over for seventy days - never longer. When this period is over, the body is washed and then wrapped from head to foot in linen cut into strips and smeared on the underside with gum, which is commonly used by the Egyptians instead of glue. In this condition the body is given back to the family who have a wooden case made, shaped like a human figure, into which it is put. In the second-most expensive burial, less care was given to the body: No incision is made and the intestines are not removed, but oil of cedar is injected with a syringe into the body through the anus which is afterwards stopped up to prevent the liquid from escaping.The body is then cured in natron for the prescribed number of days, on the last of which the oil is drained off. The effect is so powerful that as it leaves the body it brings with it the viscera in a liquid state and, as the flesh has been dissolved by the natron, nothing of the body is left but the skin and bones. The third and cheapest method of embalming was "simply to wash out the intestines and keep the body for seventy days in natron".
The internal organs were removed in order to help preserve the corpse, but because it was believed the deceased would still need them, the viscera were placed in canopic jars to be sealed in the tomb. Only the heart was left inside the body as it was thought to contain the Ab aspect of the soul. The embalmers removed the organs from the abdomen through a long incision cut into the left side. In removing the brain, as Ikram notes, they would insert a hooked surgical tool up through the dead person's nose and pull the brain out in pieces but there is also evidence of embalmers breaking the nose to enlarge the space to get the brain out more easily.
This process was followed with animals as well as humans. Egyptians regularly mummified their pet cats, dogs, gazelles, fish, birds, baboons, and also the Apis bull, considered an incarnation of the divine. The removal of the organs and brain was all about drying out the body. The only organ they left in place, in most eras, was the heart because that was thought to be the seat of the person's identity and character. Blood was drained and organs removed to prevent decay, the body was again washed, and the dressing (linen wrapping) applied.
Although the above processes are the standard observed throughout most of Egypt's history, there were deviations in some eras. Bunson notes: Each period of ancient Egypt witnessed an alteration in the various organs preserved. The heart, for example, was preserved in some eras, and during the Ramessid dynasties the genitals were surgically removed and placed in a special casket in the shape of the god Osiris.This was performed, perhaps, in commemoration of the god's loss of his own genitals or as a mystical ceremony. Throughout the nation's history, however, the canopic jars were under the protection of the Mesu Heru, the four sons of Horus. These jars and their contents, the organs soaked in resin, were stored near the sarcophagus in special containers. Once the organs had been removed and the body washed, the corpse was wrapped in linen - either by the embalmers, if one had chosen the most expensive service (who would also include magical amulets and charms for protection in the wrapping), or by the family - and placed in a sarcophagus or simple coffin. The wrapping was known as the'linen of yesterday' because, initially, poor people would give their old clothing to the embalmers to wrap the corpse in. This practice eventually led to any linen cloth used in embalming known by the same name. The funeral was a public affair at which, if one could afford them, women were hired as professional mourners. These women were known as the'Kites of Nephthys' and would encourage people to express their grief through their own cries and lamentation. They would reference the brevity of life and how suddenly death came but also gave assurance of the eternal aspect of the soul and the confidence that the deceased would pass through the trial of the weighing of the heart in the afterlife by Osiris to pass on to paradise in the Field of Reeds. Grave goods, however rich or modest, would be placed in the tomb or grave. These would include shabti dolls who, in the afterlife, could be woken to life through a spell and assume the dead person's tasks. Since the afterlife was considered an eternal and perfect version of life on earth, it was thought there was work there just as in one's mortal life. The shabti would perform these tasks so the soul could relax and enjoy itself. Shabti dolls are important indicators to modern archaeologists on the wealth and status of the individual buried in a certain tomb; the more shabti dolls, the greater the wealth. Besides the shabti, the person would be buried with items thought necessary in the afterlife: combs, jewelry, beer, bread, clothing, one's weapons, a favorite object, even one's pets. All of these would appear to the soul in the afterlife and they would be able to make use of them. Before the tomb was sealed, a ritual was enacted which was considered vital to the continuation of the soul's journey: the Opening of the Mouth Ceremony. In this rite, a priest would invoke Isis and Nephthys (who had brought Osiris back to life) as he touched the mummy with different objects (adzes, chisels, knives) at various spots while anointing the body. In doing so, he restored the use of ears, eyes, mouth, and nose to the deceased. The son and heir of the departed would often take the priest's role, thus further linking the rite with the story of Horus and his father Osiris. The deceased would now be able to hear, see, and speak and was ready to continue the journey. The mummy would be enclosed in the sarcophagus or coffin, which would be buried in a grave or laid to rest in a tomb along with the grave goods, and the funeral would conclude. The living would then go back to their business, and the dead were then believed to go on to eternal life. DEATH IN ANCIENT EGYPT : To the ancient Egyptians, death was not the end of life but only a transition to another plane of reality. Even though the Egyptian view of the afterlife was the most comforting of any ancient civilization, people still feared death. Even in the periods of strong central government when the king and the priests held absolute power and their view of the paradise-after-death was widely accepted, people were still afraid to die. The rituals concerning mourning the dead never dramatically changed in all of Egypt's history and are very similar to how people react to death today.
One might think that knowing their loved one was on a journey to eternal happiness, or living in paradise, would have made the ancient Egyptians feel more at peace with death, but this is clearly not so. Inscriptions mourning the death of a beloved wife or husband or child - or pet - all express the grief of loss, how they miss the one who has died, how they hope to see them again someday in paradise - but not expressing the wish to die and join them anytime soon. The Egyptians loved life, celebrated it throughout the year, and were in no hurry to leave it even for the kind of paradise their religion promised.A famous literary piece on this subject is known as Discourse Between a Man and his Ba (also translated as Discourse Between a Man and His Soul and The Man Who Was Weary of Life). , is a dialogue between a depressed man who can find no joy in life and his soul which encourages him to try to enjoy himself and take things easier. The man, at a number of points, complains how he should just give up and die - but at no point does he seem to think he will find a better existence on the'other side' - he simply wants to end the misery he is feeling at the moment. The dialogue is often characterized as the first written work debating the benefits of suicide, but scholar William Kelly Simpson disagrees, writing: What is presented in this text is not a debate but a psychological picture of a man depressed by the evil of life to the point of feeling unable to arrive at any acceptance of the innate goodness of existence.
His inner self is, as it were, unable to be integrated and at peace. His dilemma is presented in what appears to be a dramatic monologue which illustrates his sudden changes of mood, his wavering between hope and despair, and an almost heroic effort to find strength to cope with life. It is not so much life itself which wearies the speaker as it is his own efforts to arrive at a means of coping with life's difficulties.
As the speaker struggles to come to some kind of satisfactory conclusion, his soul attempts to guide him in the right direction of giving thanks for his life and embracing the good things the world has to offer. His soul encourages him to express gratitude for the good things he has in this life and to stop thinking about death because no good can come of it. To the ancient Egyptians, ingratitude was the'gateway sin' which let all other sins into one's life.
If one were grateful, then one appreciated all that one had and gave thanks to the gods; if one allowed one's self to feel ungrateful, then this led one down a spiral into all the other sins of bitterness, depression, selfishness, pride, and negative thought. The message of the soul to the man is similar to that of the speaker in the biblical book of Ecclesiastes when he says, "God is in heaven and thou upon the earth; therefore let thy words be few".
The man, after wishing that death would take him, seems to consider the words of the soul seriously. Toward the end of the piece, the man says, Surely he who is yonder will be a living god/Having purged away the evil which had afflicted him...
Surely he who is yonder will be one who knows all things. The soul has the last word in the piece, assuring the man that death will come naturally in time and life should be embraced and loved in the present. Another Middle Kingdom text, The Lay of the Harper, also resonates with the same theme. The Middle Kingdom is the period in Egyptian history when the vision of an eternal paradise after death was most seriously challenged in literary works.
Although some have argued that this is due to a lingering cynicism following the chaos and cultural confusion of the First Intermediate Period, this claim is untenable. Was simply an era lacking a strong central government, but this does not mean the civilization collapsed with the disintegration of the Old Kingdom, simply that the country experienced the natural changes in government and society which are a part of any living civilization. The Lay of the Harper is even more closely comparable to Ecclesiastes in tone and expression as seen clearly in the refrain: "Enjoy pleasant times/And do not weary thereof/Behold, it is not given to any man to take his belongings with him/Behold, there is no one departed who will return again" (Simpson, 333). The claim that one cannot take one's possessions into death is a direct refutation of the tradition of burying the dead with grave goods: all those items one enjoyed and used in life which would be needed in the next world. It is entirely possible, of course, that these views were simply literary devices to make a point that one should make the most of life instead of hoping for some eternal bliss beyond death.
Still, the fact that these sentiments only find this kind of expression in the Middle Kingdom suggests a significant shift in cultural focus. The most likely cause of this is a more'cosmopolitan' upper class during this period, which was made possible precisely by the First Intermediate Period, which 19th- and 20th-century CE scholarship has done so much to vilify.
The collapse of the Old Kingdom of Egypt empowered regional governors and led to greater freedom of expression from different areas of the country instead of conformity to a single vision of the king. Literature again focuses on an eternal paradise which waits beyond death. The popularity of The Book of Coming Forth by Day (better known as The Egyptian Book of the Dead) during this period is amongst the best evidence for this belief.
The Book of the Dead is an instructional manual for the soul after death, a guide to the afterlife, which a soul would need in order to reach the Field of Reeds. The reputation Ancient Egypt has acquired of being'death-obsessed' is actually undeserved; the culture was obsessed with living life to its fullest.The mortuary rituals so carefully observed were intended not to glorify death but to celebrate life and ensure it continued. The dead were buried with their possessions in magnificent tombs and with elaborate rituals because the soul would live forever once it has passed through death's doors. While one lived, one was expected to make the most of the time and enjoy one's self as much as one could. A love song from the New Kingdom of Egypt, one of the so-called Songs of the Orchard, expresses the Egyptian view of life perfectly.
In the following lines, a sycamore tree in the orchard speaks to one of the young women who planted it when she was a little girl: Give heed! Have them come bearing their equipment; Bringing every kind of beer, all sorts of bread in abundance; Vegetables, strong drink of yesterday and today; And all kinds of fruit for enjoyment; Come and pass the day in happiness; Tomorrow, and the day after tomorrow; Even for three days, sitting beneath my shade. Although one does find expressions of resentment and unhappiness in life - as in the Discourse Between a Man and his Soul - Egyptians, for the most part, loved life and embraced it fully.They did not look forward to death or dying - even though promised the most ideal afterlife - because they felt they were already living in the most perfect of worlds. An eternal life was only worth imagining because of the joy the people found in their earthly existence. The ancient Egyptians cultivated a civilization which elevated each day to an experience in gratitude and divine transcendence and a life into an eternal journey of which one's time in the body was only a brief interlude. Far from looking forward to or hoping for death, the Egyptians fully embraced the time they knew on earth and mourned the passing of those who were no longer participants in the great festival of life. THE SOUL IN ANCIENT EGYPT : At the beginning of time, the god Atum stood on the primordial mound in the midst of the waters of chaos and created the world. The power which enabled this act was heka (magic) personified in the god Heka, the invisible force behind the gods. The earth and everything in it was therefore imbued with magic, and this naturally included human beings. Humanity had been created by the gods, and one lived and moved owing to the magical force which animated them: the soul.
An individual's life on earth was considered only one part of an eternal journey. The personality was created at the moment of one's birth, but the soul was an immortal entity inhabiting a mortal vessel. When that vessel failed and the person's body died, the soul went on to another plane of existence where, if it was justified by the gods, it would live forever in a paradise which was a mirror image of one's earthly existence. This soul was not only one's character, however, but a composite being of different entities, each of which had its own role to play in the journey of life and afterlife. The mortuary rituals which were such an important aspect of Egyptian culture were so carefully observed because each aspect of the soul had to be addressed in order for the person to continue on their way to eternity.The soul was thought to consist of nine separate parts which were integrated into a whole individual but had very distinct aspects. Egyptologist Rosalie David explains: The Egyptians believed that the human personality had many facets - a concept that was probably developed early in the Old Kingdom. In life, the preson was a complete entity, but if he had led a virtuous life, he could also have access to a multiplicity of forms that could be used in the next world. In some instances, these forms could be employed to help those whom the deceased wished to support or, alternately, to take revenge on his enemies. In order for these aspects of the soul to function, the body had to remain intact, and this is why mummification became so integral a part of the mortuary rituals and the culture. In some eras, the soul was thought to be comprised of five parts and in others seven, but, generally, it was nine: the soul was not only one's character but a composite being of different entities, each of which had its own role to play in the journey of life and afterlife. The Khat was the physical body which, when it became a corpse, provided the link between one's soul and one's earthly life. The soul would need to be nourished after death just as it had to be while on earth, and so food and drink offerings were brought to the tomb and laid on an offerings table. Egyptologist Helen Strudwick observes that "one of the most common subjects for tomb paintings and carvings was the deceased seated at an offerings table laden with food". The dead body was not thought to actually eat this food but to absorb its nutrients supernaturally. Paintings and statues of the dead person were also placed in the tomb so that, if something should happen to damage the body, the statue or painting would assume its role. The Ka was one's double-form or astral self and corresponds to what most people in the present day consider a'soul.
This was "the vital source that enabled a person to continue to receive offerings in the next world". The ka was created at the moment of one's birth for the individual and so reflected one's personality, but the essence had always existed and was "passed across the successive generations, carrying the spiritual force of the first creation".The ka was not only one's personality but also a guide and protector, imbued with the spark of the divine. It was the ka which would absorb the power from the food offerings left in the tomb, and these would sustain it in the afterlife. All living things had a ka - from plants to animals and on up to the gods - which was evident in that they were, simply, alive. The Ba is most often translated as'soul' and was a human-headed bird aspect which could speed between earth and the heavens and, specifically, between the afterlife and one's corpse. Each ba was linked to a particular body, and the ba would hover over the corpse after death but could also travel to the afterlife, visit with the gods, or return to earth to those places the person had loved in life. The corpse had to reunite with the ka each night in order for the ka to receive sustenance, and it was the job of the ba to accomplish this. The gods had a ba as well as a ka. Examples of this are the Apis bull which was the ba of Osiris and the Phoenix, the ba of Ra.
The Shuyet was the shadow self which means it was essentially the shadow of the soul. The shadow in Egypt represented comfort and protection, and the sacred sites at Amarna were known as Shadow of Ra for this reason. Exactly how the shuyet functioned is not clear, but it was considered extremely important and operated as a protective and guiding entity for the soul in the afterlife.
The Egyptian Book of the Dead includes a spell where the soul claims, "My shadow will not be defeated" in stating its ability to traverse the afterlife toward paradise. The Akh was the immortal, transformed, self which was a magical union of the ba and ka. Strudwick writes, "once the akh had been created by this union, it survived as an'enlightened spirit,' enduring and unchanged for eternity" (178).
Akh is usually translated as'spirit' and was the higher form of the soul. Spell 474 of the Pyramid Texts states, "the akh belongs to heaven, the corpse to earth, " and it was the akh which would enjoy eternity among the stars with the gods. The akh could return to earth, however, and it was an aspect of the akh which would come back as a ghost to haunt the living if some wrong had been done or would return in dreams to help someone they cared for. The Sahu was the aspect of the Akh which would appear as a ghost or in dreams.
It separated from the other aspects of the soul once the individual was justified by Osiris and judged worthy of eternal existence. The Sechem was another aspect of the Akh which allowed it mastery of circumstances.
It was the vital life energy of the individual which manifested itself as the power to control one's surroundings and outcomes. The Ab was the heart, the source of good and evil, which defined a person's character. This was the spiritual heart which rose from the physical heart (hat) which was left in the mummified body of the deceased for this reason: it was the seat of the person's individuality and the record of their thoughts and deeds during their time on earth.It was the ab which was weighed in the balances against the white feather of truth by Osiris and, if found heavier than the feather, it was dropped to the floor where it was devoured by the monster Amut. Once the heart was eaten, the soul ceased to exist. If the heart was found lighter than the feather, the soul was justified and could proceed on toward paradise. A special amulet was included in the mummification of the corpse and placed over the heart as a protective charm to prevent the heart from bearing witness against the soul and possibly condemning it falsely. This was given to one at birth by the gods, and only the gods knew it.
Pumphrey writes, the only way that the fate or destiny can change is if a creature of higher power changes the name. As long as the name of the being exists, the being will exist throughout eternity as part of the fabric of the divine order (6-7). The ren was the name by which the gods knew the individual soul and how one would be called in the afterlife.
The mortuary rituals were observed to address each aspect of the soul and assure the living that the deceased would live on after death. Mummification was practiced to preserve the body, amulets and magical texts were included to address the other spiritual facets which made up an individual. The dead were not forgotten once they were placed in their tomb. Rituals were then observed daily in their honor and for their continued existence. Rosalie David writes: In order to ensure that the link was maintained between the living and the dead, so that the person's immortality was assured, all material needs had to be provided for the deceased, and the correct funerary rituals had to be performed.
It was expected that a person's heir would bring the daily offerings to the tomb to sustain the owner's ka. If the family was unable to perform this duty, they could hire a'Ka-servant' who was a priest specially trained in the rituals. A tomb could not be neglected or else the person's spirit would suffer in the afterlife and could then return to seek revenge. Nebusemekh's tomb has been neglected to the point where no one even remembers where it is and no one comes to visit or bring the necessary offerings.Khonsemhab sends his servants to locate, repair, and refurbish the tomb and then promises to provide daily offerings to Nebusemekh's ka. These offerings would be left on an altar table in the offering chapel of those tombs elaborate enough to have one or on the offerings table in the tomb. The ka of the deceased would enter the tomb through the false door provided and inhabit the body or a statue and draw nourishment from the offerings provided. In case there was a delay for whatever reason, a significant quantity of food and drink was buried with those who could afford it.
Strudwick notes how "the immediate needs of the deceased were met by inhuming a veritable feast - meat, vegetables, fruit, bread, and jugs of wine, water, and beer - with the mummy" (186). This would ensure that the departed was provided for but did not negate the obligation on the part of the living to remember and care for the dead. Offerings Lists, which stipulated what kinds of food were to be brought and in what quantity, were inscribed on tombs so that the Ka-servant or some other priest in the future could continue provisions, even long after the family was dead. Autobiographies accompanied the Offerings Lists to celebrate the person's life and provide a means of lasting remembrance.
For the most part, people took the upkeep of their family's graves and the offerings seriously in honor of the departed and knowing that, someday, they would require the same kind of attention for the sustenance of their own souls. Funerary art forms such as this painted mummy portrait began to display an increased interest in Graeco-Roman artistic traditions. Though such mummy portraits have been found throughout Egypt, most have come from the Fayum Basin in Lower Egypt, hence the moniker Fayum Portraits.Many examples of this type of mummy portrait use the Greek encaustic technique, in which pigment is dissolved in hot or cold wax and then used to paint. The naturalism of these works and the interest in realistically depicting a specific individual also stem from Greek conceptions of painting.
The subjects of the majority of the Fayum Portraits are styled and clothed according to contemporary Roman fashions, most likely those made popular by the current ruling imperial family. The portrait of the bearded man, for example, is reminiscent of images of the emperor Hadrian (ruled 117-138 AD), who popularized the fashion of wearing a thick beard as symbol of his philhellenism. In their function, these mummy portraits are entirely Egyptian and reflect religious traditions surrounding the preservation of the body of the deceased that span back thousands of years. ANCIENT EGYPTIAN MUMMY PORTRAITS : Sarcophagi in human form were created as a means not only of protecting the actual body, but also as an alternate anchor for the life force, or ka, in the event that the corpse was damaged. Images like the one seen here continue this tradition.
Painted on wooden panels or linen shrouds, they were affixed over the mummy's wrappings. Rooted in Egyptian practices and beliefs, mummy portraits from the Fayum region of Egypt are also indebted to art of the Classical world. Created from the first through the third century CE, during Egypt's Roman period, the images draw stylistically on Graeco-Roman models.
Although they appear to be naturalistic likenesses, there is debate over whether these "portraits" are actually drawn from life. Some believe they were painted and first displayed in the home during the subject's lifetime, while others suggest that they were produced at the time of death to be carried with the body in a procession known as the ekphora, a tradition originating in Greece.We package as well as anyone in the business, with lots of protective padding and containers. Please ask for a rate quotation. ABOUT US : Prior to our retirement we used to travel to Europe and Central Asia several times a year. Most of the items we offer came from acquisitions we made in Eastern Europe, India, and from the Levant (Eastern Mediterranean/Near East) during these years from various institutions and dealers. Petersburg, as well as some other worthy institutions in Europe and Asia connected with Anthropology and Archaeology. Though we have a collection of ancient coins numbering in the tens of thousands, our primary interests are ancient jewelry and gemstones. Prior to our retirement we traveled to Russia every year seeking antique gemstones and jewelry from one of the globe's most prolific gemstone producing and cutting centers, the area between Chelyabinsk and Yekaterinburg, Russia.
From all corners of Siberia, as well as from India, Ceylon, Burma and Siam, gemstones have for centuries gone to Yekaterinburg where they have been cut and incorporated into the fabulous jewelry for which the Czars and the royal families of Europe were famous for. My wife grew up and received a university education in the Southern Urals of Russia, just a few hours away from the mountains of Siberia, where alexandrite, diamond, emerald, sapphire, chrysoberyl, topaz, demantoid garnet, and many other rare and precious gemstones are produced. Though perhaps difficult to find in the USA, antique gemstones are commonly unmounted from old, broken settings - the gold reused - the gemstones recut and reset. Before these gorgeous antique gemstones are recut, we try to acquire the best of them in their original, antique, hand-finished state - most of them centuries old.
We believe that the work created by these long-gone master artisans is worth protecting and preserving rather than destroying this heritage of antique gemstones by recutting the original work out of existence. That by preserving their work, in a sense, we are preserving their lives and the legacy they left for modern times.Far better to appreciate their craft than to destroy it with modern cutting. Not everyone agrees - fully 95% or more of the antique gemstones which come into these marketplaces are recut, and the heritage of the past lost. This item is in the category "Collectibles\Decorative Collectibles\Other Decorative Collectibles". The seller is "ancientgifts" and is located in this country: US. This item can be shipped worldwide.