I talked a little while ago about the length of Egyptian civilisation and its continuity using Khaemwaset’s reconstruction work on Unas’s pyramid as my example, and today my photo is of another example of the deep, deep roots of Pharaonic Egyptian culture.

The implement in the photo is a pesesh-kef, a knife which was used in one of the key funerary rituals throughout ancient Egyptian culture – the Opening of the Mouth ceremony. This was performed on the mummy and it rendered the deceased able to breathe and eat in the afterlife.

It was a ceremony that was also performed on statues, rendering them able to be vessels for the deceased’s ka. This was a key part of what we might think of the soul of a person, and it was this part of your person that received food offerings left at the tomb after your death.

And this example of a pesesh-kef dates to waaaay before the time of Pharaonic Egypt: it was excavated at a place called el-Ma’mariya and it dates to the Naqada I period around 3800-3500 BCE, so something like five to eight centuries before Narmer unified Egypt.

Of course we can’t be at all sure that it was used for the same purposes, but it does demonstrate that the rituals grow out of deep roots in the local Egyptian culture and that even before the concept of Egypt as a country existed elements of that later culture were developing.

Pesesh-Kef from the Naqada I Period. From Mahameriah, Egypt. Predynastic Period, Naqada I, c. 3800-3500 BCE. Acc. No.: 07.447.870

It’s now in the Met Museum, acc. no.: 07.447.870.

See it on my photo site: https://photos.talesfromthetwolands.org/picture.php?/264/category/2

Jigsaw Puzzles:
easier: https://www.jigsawplanet.com/?rc=play&pid=25533ca732d2
harder: https://www.jigsawplanet.com/?rc=play&pid=2a11c1f630e7

Leave a Reply

Fill in your details below or click an icon to log in:

WordPress.com Logo

You are commenting using your WordPress.com account. Log Out /  Change )

Twitter picture

You are commenting using your Twitter account. Log Out /  Change )

Facebook photo

You are commenting using your Facebook account. Log Out /  Change )

Connecting to %s

This site uses Akismet to reduce spam. Learn how your comment data is processed.