Saturday, April 25, 2009

Painting false doors at Herakleopolis Magna

Al Ahram Weekly

With photograph.

THE HERAKLEOPOLIS false doors, which date back to the First Intermediate Period and Early Middle Kingdom era, display the skills of local artisans. Among these magnificent doors are those belonging to Lady Meret, who held the title of "king's ornament"; Khety, a funerary priest, and Ipy, the king's royal acquaintance.

The door of Lady Meret is very well decorated. Its centre features the deceased with a tight tunic and a tripartite wigs sitting in a short-backed chair with animal feet. She holds a lotus flower on her left hand that she points towards her mouth, while her left arm is stretched towards the offering table. Below the image is the door, framed by inscriptions that mention the seven holy oils used in funerary ceremonies. The door and the picture are surrounded by a cylindrical frame that represents a rolled up mat; above, a reddish cymatium curves slightly and imitate the cornices made with the ribs of palm leaves placed on top of the walls. The different titles and names of Meret are engraved on the jambs and lintels of the door, followed by the names of the gods Anubis and Osiris with their traditional epithets and funerary offerings.

This false door, which faces east, was supported on the west wall of the chapel of the tomb and appeared beside another false door of a man called Khety who may have been Meret's husband, or at least someone close to her, as they both chose the same eternal home to continue living in the Other World.

The door of Khety is extremely important from the point of view of both ritual and documentation, since it offers abundant information about the name and titles of the man who was buried. Archaeologist Carmen Die says this door is a clear example as in it Khety is designated as the "Beloved of his lord", "funerary pries", " uab priest in the chapel" and "overseer of the wine warehouses".

"All these titles bring us closer to the personality and life of Khety, as well as telling us that he was close to the sovereign's entourage and that he carried out priestly, funerary and administrative functions when taking charge of the department related to wine," Die says.

See the above page for the full story.

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