The culture of burying the dead in Egypt was considered an important issue due to the respect that was given to the dead. The dead were viewed as important people that should be respected, and even in their death condition, maximum respect was accorded to them. Therefore, due to the high temperature in Egypt arid regions, individuals explored different methods of burying the dead in a more preservative way since there was a culture to see the deceased later; hence, rotting of the corpse was prohibited at all cost (Van Siclen, 2011). During the museum visit, I got a chance to witness and explore their funerary tradition.
Coffin of Nesmin
The Coffin of Nesmin was constructed in the Ptolemaic period between 305-30 B.C. It is located in Akhmim, in the Northern Upper Egypt, and Maspero in 1885-1886. It is formed by wood which comprises of cedar or pine, gold leaf, linen, cartonnage, gesso, and paint. The Coffin of Nesmin measures about 182.9 cm in height. Nesmin was an Egyptian priest in the Ptolemaic Period. Hieroglyphic texts seen on the lower portion of the Coffin of Nesmin bears his name, titles, and lineage (Van Siclen, 2011). Like his father, Nesmin was a priest of Min, who was the fertility god of the ancient Egyptians.
I feel that the culture of respecting the dead was imperative at that time since they believed that the deceased were just resting. However, this respect was to be given equally to all people irrespective of the ones background and wealth status. According to the information I got, the coffin and mummy were only applied to the pharaoh and other wealthy families. All the same, I found this piece of work interesting and lots creativity was used.
Funerary Statuette of a Man
The funerary statuette man was created by the unknown artist during 1991-17883 BC from wood (Sycamore) and paint. Its height is 29.2cm. It is an idealized and youthful statuette that was made for the deads spirit and would be put beside or in the coffin. Notably, the tomb of a wealthy person had more one Ka-statue. Moreover, they were of different colors that also indicated the nature of jobs that a person was doing. For example, the white ka-statue was used to indicate ones white collar job. However, due to the scarcity of timber in Egypt at that time, such statues were created in separate parts and in small scale. The separable arms were joined to the main body by tenon and mortise.
This work came as a result of honoring people of different classes in various ways even in their death, and it was paramount to the culture of Egypt by that time (Van Siclen, 2011). This is because it symbolizes that status of a person even in death. Just like the current situation where some famous people are accorded state recognition when they die, individuals of that time used this piece of work for the same purpose.
I feel this was the best way of honoring the dead. Additionally, due to the sustainability of the natural resources such as the type of wood that was used to make it, it was a wise idea for the artists to make them into small pieces. However, the artist has not explained why the piece of work had just to be a man and not a woman or any other figure. I feel such explanation is very imperative to understand the motive before the work.
Van Siclen, B. (2011). Collisionat RISD Museum celebrates the ephemeral and experimental. The Providence Journal.
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