Monday, March 6, 2017

Ancient Egypt this week: Oils, symbols, & pots

Egyptian 'Seven Sacred Oils' relief recovered from Switzerland

Egypt’s embassy in Bern, Switzerland received the ancient Egyptian Seven Sacred Oils relief within the framework of a bilateral agreement between Switzerland and Egypt prohibiting illegally importing and exporting antiquities, Minister of Antiquities Mamdouh Eldamaty announced Thursday.

Note: The seven sacred oils are those used in the Opening of the Mouth Ritual for the anointing of the mouth and eyes of the statue or mummy of the deceased. For more information see The Book of Opening the Mouth, E.A. Wallace Budge, 1909. . or look under "Opening the Mouth" in any modern Egyptological reference work.

Suggestions for the reading of the Seven Sacred Oils listed in the tablet in the Centenary Exhibition are as follows (from right to left):
setji-heb oil (festival perfume) [sT(i)-Hb]
sefetji oil (unknown origin) [sfT]
heknu oil (oil of praising) [Hknw]
nekhenem oil (unknown origin) [nXnm]
tewat oil (unknown origin) [twA(w)(t)]
ash oil (best quality oil of conifer or cedar) [HAt aS]
tjehenu oil (best quality oil from Libya) [THnw]

Here's a closer look at the heiroglyphs.

Ancient Egyptian Symbols

Religion in ancient Egypt was fully integrated into the people's daily lives. The gods were present at one's birth, throughout one's life, in the transition from earthly life to the eternal, and continued their care for the soul in the afterlife of the Field of Reeds. The spiritual world was ever present in the physical world and this understanding was symbolized through images in art, architecture, in amulets, statuary, and the objects used by nobility and clergy in the performance of their duties.

“Father of Pots” – Sir Flinders Petrie’s Letters from Egypt

Recently, a visitor to Special Collections asked to see a selection of manuscript letters written by Sir Flinders Petrie. I was immediately intrigued and taken back to the time when, many moons ago now (!) I was a young archaeology student and Petrie was one of my great heroes. Hoping to follow in his footsteps by making a fantastic discovery in the sands of time helped to motivate me during many long days of back-breaking labour under a burning Mediterranean sun. Well, we all have our youthful dreams!

More than a grain of truth

Egyptologists have long tried to glean the ancient Egyptian environment from fragmented documents and colorful scenes of the Nile and its canals painted on the walls of tombs and temples.

Archaeologist Angus Graham of the Uppsala University, Sweden and his international team are teaming up to reconstruct the ancient waterscapes in Luxor, Egypt, with Karnak temple dedicated to Amun-Ra on the east bank and the Valley of the Kings and the pharaohs’ massive mortuary temples on the West Bank.

Liverpool gets biggest Ancient Egypt gallery outside London

LIVERPOOL'S World Museum is to house the largest Ancient Egypt gallery outside of the British Museum in London.

It will feature rare and never-before-seen artefacts and mummies, including one from the days of Cleopatra.

Arico explores history of pre-dynastic Egyptian objects

Ashley Fiutko Arico, who recently earned her Ph.D. in Egyptian Art and Archaeology at Hopkins, held a talk at the University’s Archaeological Museum featuring objects she identified from pre-dynastic Egypt. Her presentation, which took place in Gilman Hall on Friday, Feb. 24, was based on a project she began in 2012. Her presentation explained that the majority of the objects in the Museum were given to the University by the Egyptian Exploration Fund (EEF).