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d’archéologie orientale - Le Caire

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Conférence

Le mercredi 11 novembre 2015 à 18h00, IFAO géolocalisation IFAO

Ritual Scenes on the 21st Dynasty Coffins. Coffins as Ritual Machines

Eltayeb Abbas (Minia University - IFAO)

During the 21st Dynasty new iconographic compositions were introduced, and were placed on coffin sides. Coffins served as a miniature for the tomb during the 21st Dynasty, when richly decorated tombs were no longer built. Instead of depicting ritual and hereafter scenes on the walls of the tombs, these were placed instead on the inner and outer sides of the coffins and also on papyri. The decorations on the sides of the coffins not only include representations of the underworld scenes as found on royal tombs, but also have vignettes of the New Kingdom Book of the Dead. The 21st Dynasty coffins and their antecedent coffins of the 18th and 19th Dynasties have depictions of the funeral scenes, which are well-preserved on the walls of the tombs and also in texts. As in the Middle Kingdom coffins, the 21st Dynasty coffins served as a universe for the deceased and also reflect the rituals performed for him/her from the moment of death until burial. The only difference between the Middle Kingdom coffin and that of the 21st Dynasty is that the latter has more decorative elements than the former. These decorative elements replaced the ritual texts in the rites of passage.

In this lecture, the decorations on these coffins will be dealt with as evidence for ritual practice in the 21st Dynasty itself, but also for the long continuity of ritual practice during the rites of passage in ancient Egyptian religion. It will also consider attitudes to the coffin, not merely as an object, but as part of and objectification of those rites, and its role as descendant of the mortuary literature and the tomb decoration of earlier periods, towards a better understanding of the material mortuary record of ancient Egypt.