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Rituals for animal mummies

 
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anneke
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PostPosted: Fri Nov 12, 2010 5:21 pm    Post subject: Rituals for animal mummies Reply with quote

I was giving a presentation about Ancient Egypt at a local school and one of the students asked a really good question.

We were talking about how with a mummy there were rituals including the opening of the mouth, pouring libations, people grieving etc.

Some of the Egyptians had their favorite pets mummified. Prince Tuthmose's cat Tamiu, and the animal tombs in the Valley of the Kings which may date to the time of Amenhotep II come to mind. And I think they found pet monkeys in the tomb of Maya and Meryt in Saqqara.

Would they also perform an opening of the mouth ceremony on animal mummies? Part of that was to allow them to eat and be rejuvenated in the after life wasn't it?
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Ranoferhotep
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PostPosted: Fri Nov 12, 2010 5:47 pm    Post subject: Reply with quote

This is indeed a very good question. I suppose they did. They used the same ceremony (or at least a variation of it) also to inaugurate their temples, depictions and statues (of God’s, Goddesses, etc..) and even texts written on temple and tomb walls to bring them to life.
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anneke
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PostPosted: Fri Nov 12, 2010 11:50 pm    Post subject: Reply with quote

I figured they might bit wasn't sure Smile I have never read anything about this, and I'm not sure they would leave inscriptions or tomb scenes showing an opening of the mouth for say their pet cat or pet monkey.
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Ranoferhotep
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PostPosted: Sat Nov 13, 2010 8:47 am    Post subject: Reply with quote

In that you are correct Anneke, I can’t give also any example that shows the ritual being performed on pet animals. To be honest I draw the conclusion deriving from different aspects of A.E. religion known to me. (Anyone may disagree with this).

We know they venerated animals, lice cats, the sacred Apis-bull, crocodiles, baboons, the Ibis, etc… Quite some mummies have been found of these. Also pet mummies and some other animal mummies (complete with coffins), which may even occur more strange, like a mice, lizard, fish, beetle, …

Now, I would find it strange that they would go through the trouble of, like in the case of the Apis bulls, cutting out tombs (Serapeum), make gigantic sarcophagi for them, and undertake the costly process of mummification, without performing the necessary rites to make sure their Ka’s would live on in the afterlife.

A.E. religion, was also not just the belief in their God’s and Goddesses, but included also a strong belief in magic. I even would state, that the daily rituals that were performed for the God’s and Goddesses, may be seen as an magical act. After all, their purpose was to keep the God’s benevolent and make sure they blessed Egypt, and often forgotten by many, they stayed on Earth, as a spirit living in their statue, and thus the God could be approached by man. One of the most important formulas that shows this is “Your Chapel is NOT empty”. Another example is the New year’s festival, we know, e.g. from the temple of Denderah, the statue of the God’s were taken out of their chapels and brought to the rooftop of the temple to the New year’s chapel to be exposed to the sun. A ritual that had the sole intent of “recharging” the statue with divine power or spirit.

Furthermore the A.E. build (most of) their Temples, sanctuaries, chapels and tombs in hard stone, the material known to the A.E. as imperishable, not like mud brick, which was much easier and faster to build with, but very perishable. This had a very specific intent, the temples had to survive man. And here we have to turn to the decorations of these buildings. The temples and tombs show detailed scenes of various ritual rites, festivals, adoration and offerings to the God’s. Now most people don’t stand still by that, but those depictions were much more than simply decorations of the temple. By cutting out (painting) those scenes and accompanying texts, and bringing them “to life” they strongly believed that the acts depicted on the temple walls would stay in existence and kept being performed until the end of days. Or like the A.E. would put it, for millions of millions of years, which means, for eternity, even when the actual service of man would stop.

Important note on this is that when the depictions were destroyed, the acts depicted would also seize to exist. This is why we have so many destructions done by the A.E. themselves, best example is Akhenaton, who not only ordered the closing of the temples, but also the destruction of the depictions of Amun and even his name.

So if you follow the above, one have to come the conclusion, that even for (pet and sacred) animals, the same rules would have applied.
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