ART1204 Architecture of the Afterlife: Embalming & Tombs in Ancient Egypt

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ART1204 Architecture of the Afterlife: Embalming & Tombs in Ancient Egypt

  1. 1. ARCHITECTUREOFTHE AFTERLIFE Embalming & Tombs in Ancient Egypt Professor  Will  Adams  
  2. 2. Ancient Egyptian Mummification Preserving Pharaohs for an Eternity
  3. 3. The Purpose of Egyptian Mummification §  In  order  for  the  person’s   spirit,  or  ka,  to  live  forever,  it   had  to  be  able  to  recognize  &   return  to  the  body.   §  If  a  spirit  could  not  recognize   the  body  it  belonged  to,  it   would  die.   §  This  is  why  the  Egyptians   wanted  to  preserve  the   bodies  of  the  dead  in  as  life-­‐ like  a  state  as  possible.   §  Mummification  guaranteed   eternal  life  for  the  spirit.  
  4. 4. The Mummification Process §  The  entire  process  took  70   days  to  complete.   §  Several  embalmers   conducted  the  task  in  the   special  embalming  shop,  or   per-­‐nefer.   §  The  chief  embalmer  was   known  as  the  hery  sheshta.   §  He  wore  a  jackal  mask  to   represent  Anubis,  the  god   of  mummification.  
  5. 5. The Mummification Process §  After  the  deceased’s  body   was  brought  to  the  per-­‐ nefer,  it  was  washed  with  a   mixture  of  palm  wine  and   water  from  the  Nile,  then   shaved  of  its  hair.   §  Following  that,  all  of  the   body  parts  that  might  decay   or  rot  were  removed.   §  The  embalmers  first   removed  the  deceased’s   brain  through  his  or  her  nose   using  a  long  hook.  
  6. 6. The Mummification Process §  The  long  hook  was  used  to   stir  up  the  brain  until  it  was   liquefied.   §  Then  the  embalmers  would   turn  the  body  face  down  to   allow  the  brain  to  ooze  out   through  the  nostrils.   §  The  Egyptians  were  so  rough   on  the  brain  because  they   didn’t  realize  its  importance.   §  They  thought  its  sole   purpose  was  to  produce   snot!  
  7. 7. The Mummification Process §  Next,  the  embalmers   would  remove  the  soft,   moist  body  parts  that   would  cause  the  body  to   decay.   §  A  deep  incision  was  made   in  the  left  side  of  the   deceased’s  abdomen  to   remove  his  or  her  internal   organs,  usually  the  lungs,   the  stomach,  the  liver  and   the  intestines.  
  8. 8. The Mummification Process §  In  some  cases  they  removed   the  heart,  but  in  the  vast   majority  of  cases  they  left  it.   §  Unlike  modern  humans,  the   ancient  believed  that  the   heart,  not  the  brain,  was  the   seat  of  the  soul     §  The  Egyptians  also  believed   that  the  heart  testified  on   behalf  of  the  deceased   during  the  Weighing  of  the   Heart  Ceremony  in  the   afterlife.  
  9. 9. The Mummification Process §  After  the  body’s  organs  had   been  removed,  it  was  stuffed   with  bundles  of  a  strong   drying  salt  called  natron  that   was  meant  to  further   dehydrate  the  corpse.   §  The  deceased’s  entire  body   was  then  covered  with  natron   &  placed  on  an  inclined  slab  so   that  any  moisture  the  natron   pulled  from  the  body  would   run  off  the  end,  be  collected  &   buried  with  the  body.  
  10. 10. The Mummification Process §  While  the  body  was  drying,  the   previously  removed  internal   organs  were  also  dried  &   preserved  with  natron.   §  They  were  then  wrapped  in   strips  of  linen  &  put  into   separate  containers  called   canopic  jars.   §  The  Egyptians  believed  that  all   body  parts  would  be  magically   reunited  in  the  afterlife  and   that  the  body  would  become   whole  again,  just  like  the  god   Osiris’s  had.  
  11. 11. The Egyptian Myth of Osiris §  According  to  Egyptian   mythology,  the  god  Osiris  was   murdered  by  his  jealous   brother  Set,  who  hacked   Osiris’s  body  into  pieces  &   scattered  them  into  the  Nile.   §  Heartbroken,  Osiris’s  wife,  the   goddess  Isis,  reassembled  the   pieces  with  the  other  gods’   assistance  &  Osiris  was   magically  restored.   §  He  then  went  on  to  become   the  god  of  the  afterlife.  
  12. 12. The Mummification Process §  Next,  the  canopic  jars   were  carefully  stored  in   a  heavy,  secure  chest   that  was  later  placed  in   the  tomb  with  the   mummy.   §  The  chest  of  canopic  jars   on  the  left  was  found  in   the  tomb  of  the  famous   King  Tutankhamen.  
  13. 13. The Mummification Process §  After  40  days,  the  body  was   completely  dehydrated.     §  During  that  time  the  skin   became  shrunken,  wrinkled   &  leathery.   §  The  bundles  of  natron  were   then  removed  from  the   body’s  abdomen.   §  Next,  the    mummy  was   washed  with  wine  &  water   one  more  time  &  rubbed   with  sacred  oils  to  soften  the   skin.  
  14. 14. The Mummification Process §  According  to  Egyptian  myth,   the  god  Horus  had  his  eye   miraculously  restored  after   losing  it  in  a  battle  with  the  evil   god  Set.     §  As  a  result,  The  Eye  of  Horus,   called  a  wedjat,  is  associated   with  healing  &  protection.   §  During  mummification,  a  wax   or  bronze  plate  with  a  wedjat   carved  on  it  was  placed  over   the  embalming  incision  to   magically  heal  the  wound  in   the  afterlife.  
  15. 15. The Mummification Process §  Once  the  wedjat  was  in   place,  the  entire  body  was   then  covered  in  shrouds  &   bound  with  strips  of  linen   until  the  mummy  had   returned  to  its  original   size.   §  This  was  a  complicated   job,  could  take  as  long  as  a   week,  and  usually  required   1,000  yards’  worth  of  2  –   8”  wide  linen  strips.  
  16. 16. The Mummification Process §  After  the  week  of  wrapping   was  finished,  the  head  of  the   mummy  was  covered  with  a   portrait  mask.   §  This  was  designed    to  ensure   that  the  ka  would  recognize   the  body  in  the  afterlife.   §  Finally,  the  wrapped,  masked   mummy  was  placed  into  a   series  of  wooden  &  gilded   coffins  which  were   ultimately  placed  into  a   stone  sarcophagus.  
  17. 17. The Mummification Process §  The  deceased’s  sarcophagus  was   then  placed  inside  the  tomb’s   burial  chamber,  the  entrance  to   which  would  be  sealed  to  prevent   looting  or  theft.   §  Before  the  tomb  was  sealed,  the   deceased’s  family  members   deposited  food,  clothes,  furniture,   and  dishes  into  the  burial  chamber.     §  They  did  this  because  the   Egyptians  believed  the  deceased   would  need  the  same   accoutrements  in  the  afterlife  that   he  or  she  had  used  in  his  or  her   mortal  life.  
  18. 18. Architecture of the Afterlife Erecting A Pharaoh’s Eternal Home
  19. 19. Architecture of the Afterlife The Nile’s Shaping Influence §  The  Nile  River  had  an   important  influence  in  the   geometry  of  ancient  Egyptian   architecture.     §  The  Nile  is  a  very  straight   river,  and  the  straightness  of   its  line  provided  the  ancient   Egyptians  with  both  a   symbolic  sense  of  direction  &   a  principle  for  application  in   the  creation  of  monumental   buildings.  
  20. 20. Architecture of the Afterlife Construction Systems §  In  contrast,  Egyptian  monumental   construction  is  mainly  post-­‐and-­‐ beam.   §  This  is  found  mainly  in  pyramids,   tombs  &  temples.     §  Ironically,  columns  are  designed  to   look  like  plant  materials:   §  Their  shafts  resemble  bundles   of  plant  stems  tied  together.   §  Their  capitals  are  derived  from   the  lotus  bud,  the  papyrus   flower,  or  the  palm  frond.   §  Great  importance  was  attached  to   relief  carving  &  it  was  an  integral   part  of  the  architecture.      
  21. 21. Architecture of the Afterlife §  Egyptian  tombs  were  the  most   outstanding  architectural   achievements  of  the  period.     §  In  addition  to  housing  the  deceased   Egyptians’  remains,  tombs  served  as   places  of  worship  for  the  Cult  of  the   Dead.   §  The  Egyptians  thought  that  their   pharaohs  became  gods  upon  their   deaths,  and  worshipped  them  as   such.       §  The  tomb  evolved  during  the  Old   Kingdom  from  the  mastaba,  through   the  stepped  pyramid,  to  the   renowned  ancient  Egyptian  pyramids.  
  22. 22. Architecture of the Afterlife §  The  name  mastaba  derived   from  the  name  for  the  steps  or   podiums  found  in  the  front  of   traditional  Egyptian  houses.     §  In  the  Old  Kingdom,  rich  &   noble  people  built  mastabas  for   their  burials  in  the  necropolis.   §  Above  ground,  the  mastaba   looks  like  a  large  bench  of   sunbaked  bricks  rising  about  30   feet  high,  with  a  flat  roof  &   sloping  walls.     §  The  earliest  mastabas  were   decorated  with  painted   patterns  in  brilliant  colors.  
  23. 23. Architecture of the Afterlife §  Internally,  a  mastaba   consists  of  three  spaces:  an   underground    burial  chamber   &  an  above  ground  serdab  &   chapel.   §  The  burial  chamber  was   located  30  feet  below   ground  &  was  the  place  for   the  deceased’s  sarcophagus.   §  It  was  connected  to  the   serdab  &  chapel  above   ground  through  a  shaft.  
  24. 24. Architecture of the Afterlife §  The  mastaba’s  serdab  &   chapel  are  located  above-­‐ ground.       §  The  serdab  is  a  room  where   the  ka  statue  of    the  dead   person  is  kept.   §  The  ka  statue  would  act  as  a   substitute  for  the   deceased’s  body  in  case  it   was  destroyed  and  was  also   the  focus  of  worship  by  the   deceased’s  family  members.  
  25. 25. Architecture of the Afterlife: The Step Pyramid of King Djoser
  26. 26. Architecture of the Afterlife: The Step Pyramid of King Djoser §  Egyptian  King  Djoser  was  a   powerful  pharaoh  of  the  third   dynasty  of  the  Old  Kingdom.     §  His  tomb,  known  as  the  Step   Pyramid  of  King  Djoser,  was   designed  by  Imhotep  (the   first  named  artist  in  history)   in  2,667  BCE.     §  It  was  built  as  a  funeral   complex  at  the  necropolis  of   Saqqara.     §  Initially,  Imhotep  conceived   of  the  tomb  as  a  large   mastaba  of  stone.  
  27. 27. Architecture of the Afterlife: The Step Pyramid of King Djoser §  Apparently,  King  Djoser  did   not  like  Imhotep’s  initial   idea,  so  instead  Imhotep   designed  a  series  of  layered   mastaba  “steps”  instead.   §  The  result  was  a  pyramid   with  five  sloping  tiers  set   upon  a  massive  mastaba   base.     §  As  a  result,  this  step  pyramid   acts  as  the  intermediate  step   between  the  mastaba  and  a   true  geometric  pyramid.  
  28. 28. Architecture of the Afterlife: The Step Pyramid of King Djoser §  Sadly,  the  pharaoh’s   stockpile  of  treasures   were  looted  in   antiquity,  and  none  of   them  survive  today.   §  Recently,  however,  a   ka  statue  of  King   Djoser  was  found,   staring  out  through   peep  holes  in  his   serdab!  
  29. 29. Architecture of the Afterlife: The Step Pyramid of King Djoser
  30. 30. Architecture of the Afterlife: The Step Pyramid of King Djoser §  The  complex’s  actual   entrance  door  leads  to  a   long,  enclosed  hall   supported  by  two  rows  of   columns.       §  These  are  believed  to  be  the   oldest  surviving  stone   columns  in  history!     §  Cleverly,  the  architect,   Imhotep,  designed  the   columns  to  look  like  bundles   of  reeds  from  the  Nile.  
  31. 31. Architecture of the Afterlife: The Step Pyramid of King Djoser §  After  the  completion  of  King  Djoser’s  Step   Pyramid  at  Saqqara,  subsequent  pharaohs   made  several  attempts  at  designing  &   building  purely  geometrical  pyramids  for   themselves  as  tombs.   §  Among  the  more  successful,  prominent   attempts  were  the  Pyramid  of  King  Huni  at   Meidum,  &  the  two  pyramids  built  by   Pharaoh  Snefru  at  Dashur.    
  32. 32. Architecture of the Afterlife: Pyramid of King Huni at Meidum
  33. 33. Architecture of the Afterlife: Pyramid of King Huni at Meidum §  It  was  King  Huni  made   the  first  attempt  at   building  pure,   geometrical  Pyramid  at   Meidum  in  2637  BCE.   §  To  do  this,  he   constructed  a  seven-­‐ stepped  pyramid  with  a   square  plan,  a  height  of   295’,  &  an  angle  of   incline  of  51°.  
  34. 34. Architecture of the Afterlife: Snefru’s Bent Pyramid at Dahshur
  35. 35. Architecture of the Afterlife: Snefru’s Bent Pyramid at Dahshur §  The  later  Pharaoh  Snefru   made  two  attempts  at   creating  a  true  pyramid.     §  His  first  attempt  in  2,600   BCE,  the  Bent  Pyramid  at   Dahshur,  had  a  square  plan   with  a  height  of  334’.   §  Due  to  structural  instability   during  construction,  the   pyramid’s  sides  changed   angle  halfway  up,  which  led   to  its  being  nicknamed  the   “Bent  Pyramid”.    
  36. 36. Architecture of the Afterlife: Snefru’s Red Pyramid at Dahshur
  37. 37. Architecture of the Afterlife: Snefru’s Red Pyramid at Dahshur §  King  Snefru’s  second   pyramid  to  the  north,   known  today  as  the  Red   Pyramid,  is  the  tomb  in   which  the  pharaoh  was   actually  buried.     §  It  is  not  a  true  pyramid,   because  its  sides  have  a  very   low  pitch  of  43°  instead  of   52°,  making  it  look  stunted   or  squatty.   §  A  true  pyramid  has  an   incline  angle  of  52°.  
  38. 38. Architecture of the Afterlife: The Pyramids at Giza
  39. 39. Architecture of the Afterlife: The Pyramids at Giza §  Construction  of  a  true   geometrical  pyramid  was  finally   achieved  during  reign  of  King   Cheops,  son  of  Snefru,  in  2,560   BCE.   §  His  pyramid  is  located,  along   with  the  other  most  famous  true   pyramids,  on  the  Giza  Plateau  on   the  west  bank  of  the  Nile.     §  Today,  King  Cheops’  Pyramid  is   nicknamed  “The  Great  Pyramid”   because  of  its  size.   §  The  pyramid  is  482’  high  on  a   plan  of  760’  square.    
  40. 40. Architecture of the Afterlife: The Pyramids at Giza §  Eventually,  two  additional   pyramids  were  built  at  Giza   by  Cheops’  successors.   §  The  second  and  largest,  in   the  center,  was  built  by  King   Chefren,  King  Cheops’s  son.     §  The  third  and  smallest  was   built  by  King  Mycerinus,   Chefren’s  son.       §  Collectively,  the  three  are   referred  to  as  the  Pyramids   at  Giza.    
  41. 41. Architecture of the Afterlife: The Pyramids at Giza §  The  three  are  aligned   diagonally  along  the   axis  set  by  the  Great   Pyramid.     §  The  three  small   pyramids  located   close  by  were  built   for  the  pharaohs’   queens.    
  42. 42. Architecture of the Afterlife: The Pyramids at Giza §  All  the  pyramids  were   designed  as  part  of  a   dynastic  funeral  complex  for   the  burial  of  the  pharaohs.   §  Today,  Chefren’s  complex  is   the  best  preserved  example.     §  His  complex  consist  of  three   interconnected  units:   v A  valley  temple  by  the   Nile  where  the  pharaoh’s   body  was  embalmed     v A  pyramid  mortuary   temple  for  rituals   v A  long  narrow  causeway   connecting  the  two  
  43. 43. Architecture of the Afterlife: The Great Sphinx §  Also  located  at  Giza  is  the   Great  Sphinx  with  the  body   of  a  lion  &  the  head  of   Chefren.   §  The  reason  for  its   construction  &  its  purpose   are  unclear.   §  A  theory  holds  that  it  was   produced  from  leftover   pyramid  materials  that  were   a  applied  to  an  existing   stone.   §  It  may  also  have  been  carved   to  stand  guard  over  the   temple  &  tomb  of  Chefren.  
  44. 44. Architecture of the Afterlife: The Period of Pyramids Passes §  With  King  Mycerinus’s  death,  the  era  of  the  pyramid  ended   for  the  most  part.   §  More  pyramids  were  built  by  later  pharaohs,  but  they  were   smaller  &  less  complex.   §  Also,  later  pharaohs  could  not  afford  the  cost  of  huge   pyramid  construction.     §  Of  even  greater  concern,  ancient  grave  robbers  quickly   learned  how  to  break  into  the  pyramids  &  steal  the  goods   buried  with  pharaohs.   §  The  end  of  the  Old  Kingdom  therefore  marked  the  end  of   the  great  era  of  Egyptian  pyramid  construction.      
  45. 45. Architecture of the Afterlife: Middle Kingdom Temples & Tombs §  Two  types  of  underground   tombs  were  built  by  pharaohs  &   nobles  during  the  Middle  &  New   Kingdom  periods:  Rock-­‐cut   tombs  &  shaft  tombs.   §   A  rock-­‐cut  tomb  is  a  tomb  that   is  carved  into  the  earth  itself.   §  Many  of  these  are  found  along   the  western  cliffs  of  the  Nile.   §  Good  examples  are  the  30+   rock-­‐cut  tombs  at  Beni  Hassan,   built  for  royal  governors  from   the  21st  –  19th  centuries  BCE.  
  46. 46. Architecture of the Afterlife: Middle Kingdom Temples & Tombs §  Later,  shaft  tombs  were   constructed  as  a  complex   series  of  underground   corridors  &  rooms,  cut   into  the  mountains  in  the   Valley  of  the  Kings  at  Deir   Al-­‐Bahri.   §  Their  large  number  of   rooms  &  complicated   arrangement  were   deliberate:  they  were  a   maze  or  puzzle  to  confuse   grave  robbers!  
  47. 47. The End

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