Resurrection Metaphors In Ancient Egypt.

Chicks in the nest. Painting from the tomb of Menna (TT69) in Gourna. Image: www.osirisnet.net

Thanks to the numerous documents that has come down to us from Ancient Egypt, almost all related to their religious beliefs, we know about their gods, the ceremonies they practiced, their mythologies, and above all how they buried their dead and also how they did to resurrect them.

In the funerary sphere, we know that ancient Egyptians mummified to preserve the corpse and that they carried out rituals to promote the resurrection of the deceased and his rebirth in the Hereafter.

Funerary texts played a crucial role in the regeneration of the dead. Some helped him to overcome the difficulties that hindered his way to eternity and others evoked mythical situations that promoted his resurrection.

At this point, it is interesting to note how the ancient Egyptians, through words, knew how to turn everyday situations into moments with great symbolic potential.

For example, when a funerary text from Ancient Egypt alluded to “chicks inside the nest”, could that have a deeper meaning? The answer is yes.

Chicks in the nest. Painting from the tomb of Menna (TT69) in Gourna. Image: www.osirisnet.net
Chicks in the nest. Painting from the tomb of Menna (TT69) in Gourna. Image: www.osirisnet.net

In my last article we see how in Ancient Egypt banal moments of the world of the living, acquired great importance when they were introduced through the texts in the world of the gods:

  • To remove the hair of a wound to clean it and heal it.
  • The bird that matures and leaves the nest, turned into an adult bird capable of fending for itself.
  • A couple having sex in a common posture.
  • A couple having sex in a position as common as that of the woman (active) over the man (passive).
  • A woman helping her baby in his first feed.
  • A newborn being aid with a finger in his/her mouth for helping him in his first breath.

Scribes in ancient Egypt knew how to draw, because learning to write was learning to draw. We notice also that not only they drew hieroglyphs, but also “drew scenes” with those hieroglyphs. That is, they could depict with words, moments that, even sometimes, ancient Egyptian art did not express with images.

With the written language, moments of daily life became part of the divine scene of Ancient Egypt. In this way, they became propitiatory moments for the deceased and contributed to the success of the resurrection process. The conclusion is that the written word and the drawn image formed a perfect tandem in Ancient Egyptian thought.

In Ancient Egypt, an artist drew reality on the walls, turning it into a sacred fact. In the same way, the scribe wrote small fragments of daily life, making them a promise of eternal life.

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