Sunday, November 2, 2014

The Egyptian Offering Ritual

     One of the most common objects to be found in any collection of Egyptian art are stelae with inscriptions on them that (if recited) will magically present offerings to the deceased. These stelae were usually set up in conspicuous places, such as in temples or in the offering chapels of tombs. The offering inscription itself is known from thousands of examples and this one is pretty standard. The inscription starts at the right and reads top to bottom from the right to the left:

Line 1: "An offering given by the King under Osiris Khenti-Amenti, Lord of Abydos"

Line 2: "May he give bread, beer, oxen and geese, alabaster and linen, everything good and pure (upon which) a god lives to the ka of"

Line 3: "Sobekhotep, born of Sit-Hathor"

The horizontal line of text at the very top of the stela says: "The one honored under the good god (the King)".

     The offering formal is not only found on stelae, but is also found on coffins (particularly along the top of the coffin's trough), statues and many other objects, especially those of a funerary nature.

Photo copyright (c) 2014 by John Freed

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