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Funerary practices: Preparations, processions and burial

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❶This treatment was reserved for the small upper classes, and it was abandoned as pagan practice when Egypt became Christianized. For over 3, years, the tallest of these pyramids was the largest man-made structure in the world at feet tall.

Funerals in ancient Egypt

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What Are Some Egyptian Beliefs, Customs and Traditions?
Why Was Mummification Important to the Egyptians?

These tombs were at times similar to huge warrens with many passage ways and rooms, capable of accommodating large numbers of deceased family members. If the reason for hiding the burial places under mountains was to afford better protection from tomb robbers, then they were a sad disappointment: The more substantial abodes of eternity could take years to build. The Old Kingdom companion of the house, the keeper of secrets, Mehi, wrote: A common misconception should therefore be put right at the outset: This treatment was reserved for the small upper classes, and it was abandoned as pagan practice when Egypt became Christianized.

If the graveyard was in a dry area not inundated by the Nile corpses might undergo natural mummification by desiccation. In Upper Egypt, where the floodplain was at times quite narrow, many people, even the poor, buried their dead in the near-by desert. In the Delta it was mostly only the elite who could afford transporting a corpse to one of the great graveyards in the western desert for burial. This, like other national cults, seems to have affected the populace, which put its reliance on intimately known local deities , but little and remained a religion of the elitist upper classes.

According to the myth the god's body had been dismembered, but Isis had reassembled all the body parts and Osiris had been revived.

Rituals of burial and passage into the afterlife were based on this resurrection myth, which until the 6th dynasty were applied to pharaohs only, then increasingly to his family, the aristocracy and from the Middle Kingdom on to any who could afford them.

By Greek and Roman times it was more widespread than ever, even if it may have been more of a status symbol than part of deeply held religious beliefs, and the quality of mummification had deteriorated. During pre-dynastic times little importance seems to have been attached to the continued existence of the corpse, though a few skeletons have been found whose bones were treated with resin, seemingly attempts at preserving them.

Bodies were wrapped in linen, sometimes soaked with natron , sometimes treated with resin which enabled the modelling of the form of the body. Facial features were sometimes added by modelling and painting. This kind of mummy is referred to as linen mummy. If the linen wrapping was covered with plaster one speaks of stucco or plaster mummies.

At times the preservation of the whole body was abandoned in favour of preserving just the bones, which, after defleshing, were covered in resin and wrapped in linen. From the 4th dynasty onward the viscera of the royals were sometimes removed, wrapped separately, and occasionally buried in canopic jars. Receptacles for viscera found in the tombs of noblemen were always empty and do not prove that their organs were removed.

Well-to-do women and officials had their bodies covered in resin and wrapped in linen. Some corpses were covered in pitch. Decay falls on thee, old age has reached thee; it is no small thing that thy body should be embalmed, that the Pedtiu shall not bury thee. Royal funerary masks were made of gold, inlaid with precious stones.

These masks were not intended to be faithful representations. Rather, they gave the mummy sense organs, eyes to see with, ears to hear with and a mouth to utter the necessary protective spells , and the Opening of the Mouth ceremony enabled the deceased to use them. Thanks to the removal of the brain, the viscera, the complete dehydration of the body, and burials in dry places, these mummies are often in better condition than those of later periods, when even those who could not really afford it tried to have their corpses preserved.

During the Third Intermediate Period mummification began to resemble taxidermy. The intention was to preserve the body as lifelike as possible by stuffing it with sawdust and other materials. Even legs and arms were at times enhanced by inserting little packages filled with vegetable matter under the skin. The organs were frequently left in place or replaced after embalming. The Late Period saw a revival of ancient traditions in many fields, mummification among them.

Embalmers were trying to preserve corpses in New Kingdom fashion, e. Herodotus, who visited Egypt in the fifth century BCE, reported that there were three different embalming treatments and that the cheapest of them was affordable to most, or as he puts it those who have less means.

These probably did not include the poor peasants whom he did not even acknowledge in his list of Egyptian social classes. In Ptolemaic and Roman times, when it happened not infrequently that people died far from their loved ones, were mummified and then shipped home, they often affixed tablets, so called mummy labels , to the deceased bearing his name and other information concerning him for identification.

For those who could not afford an expensive mortuary stela, such a tablet, sometimes also inscribed with a mortuary prayer, may have fulfilled that role.

It was only the spread of Christianity which put an end to this post-mortem social climbing which was, partially at least, the result of an ever growing urbanization. The first one brought the deceased, who could afford it, to the necropolis, which in many cases meant crossing the Nile and arriving in the West, the land of the dead. According to tomb depictions the corpse was placed in a chest or sarcophagus on a papyrus boat and accompanied by two female mourners sitting in the boat's bow.

On landing the boat was fastened to the mooring stakes and and the deceased's ka could feast on the royal offering, the Htp nswt and offerings of the gods: An offering which the king gives, an offering which Anubis presiding over the divine booth gives Mastaba of Ni-ankh-khnum and Khnum-Hotep at Saqqara, Old Kingdom.

The mourners in the boat, referred to as the two kites, the Dr. The bull slaughtered at the mooring must have symbolized Seth, the murderer of Osiris. Present at these sacrifices were among others a sem -priest in the guise of Horus and a lector priest representing Thoth.

From the mooring place the deceased was carried by nine pall bearers, four of them representing the Sons of Horus , to the divine booth, the zH-nTr. They prayed for him, that he would pass the Judgment successfully. At the end of the procession followed bearers of grave goods and offerings. The mummy was placed on a sledge drawn by cattle and dragged to the tomb, led by priests and accompanied by relatives and friends.

This short journey, at the end of which he would be received by the goddess of the Western desert with the words: I embrace you with my arms, that I lead life to you, that I indeed be the protection of your body , [ 15 ] was the first stage on the long journey through the Underworld which, as it was hoped, would culminate in the deceased joining the immortal stars.

They were laid to rest lying on their left side, in a contracted position facing west, though this was not a hard and fast rule. These nameless remains often speak of a life that was short and full of hardship, of toil which enlarged the bones of the limbs and ground down the joints bearing the loads, of tooth decay which caused lethal abscesses, of accidents in which bones were broken or crushed, and of periods of malnutrition which stunted growth. We can only guess at the ceremonies with which they were laid to rest.

They may have expressed a kind of ancestor worship , similar to the one we still practice in the West today, with prayers spoken over the grave to ensure that the deceased would not return to haunt the living, with little offerings of flowers and libations, and with ever decreasing visits to the grave, as the survivors accept their loss. The ceremonies of the rich were more elaborate and ostentatious. The power of speech was returned to the mummified body in the Opening of the Mouth ceremony.

Professional mourners were hired who accompanied the proceedings with wailing. In the name of the king, the intermediary between this world and the next, offerings were made and future offerings promised. This was the hour of the eldest son who stepped forward to perform his duties of heir and successor, satisfying all the needs, spiritual and corporal, of his father in the hereafter.

There was a sinister aspect to this life after death: But as time passed and parts of the Egyptian society became more affluent, the number of more elaborate interments increased. Jewellery, palettes , and vessels containing victuals were buried together with the dead. Some of these goods seem to have been made especially for the purpose. By the late 4th millennium the differences between the impoverished populace and the rich elite were significant.

During the first Old Kingdom dynasties burial in clay coffins interred in pits gave way to simple tomb constructions which at first were little more than four walls made of mud bricks, but later became more substantial, combining a funerary chapel with a subterranean tomb. The elite built tombs with great superstructures which are called by their Arabic name mastabas , and which were furnished and decorated lavishly.

From the fourth dynasty onwards, in the case of the pharaohs and some of their close relatives, these edifices grew into vast temples of which the pyramids were just one, albeit the most impressive, part of the complex. At least those who left us written evidence, which in the third millennium were the rich and powerful, seem to have believed that it was possible to enjoy for eternity an existence in the beyond similar to the one they had relished in this world.

People on the top on the social pyramid like the Pharaohs had the best burial customs like tombs and grave goods. People on the bottom on the social pyramid like the farmer and peasants had bad burial customs like being buried in the sand and not being mummified. Wealthy people that were on top of the social pyramid got 'Mustabas' built for them. Each 'Mustabas' would have two levels; one under ground burial chamber and one above for offerings and prayers.

The Pharaohs built pyramids for their deaths since they were the highest out of the social pyramids. Ancient Egypt Tombs were meant to have a religious significance to its owner.

Tombs were also meant to be the last resting place of the deceased, however, the person whose soul would live on in another realm. In which way were the tombs set out? Inside the tombs of Ancient Chinese people, artwork is displayed. These artworks display the heavens above.

The Ancient Chinese believed in the next life and the tombs artworks were displayed. There were different rooms for each category such a room for weapons as offerings.

In tombs there were rooms. Each with its own purpose. Ancient China The Egyptians believed that the tombs were houses of eternity.

When building tombs, builders would have to perform rituals for religious purposes. All tombs had two essential architectural components that reflected their religious function — a burial chamber and a nearby chapel for prayers. Egyptian burial chambers were like secret galleries that were never meant to be viewed. They were packed with an astounding array of artwork which spoke only to an elite group of visitors — the gods.

Ancient Egypt Did the people believe in Reincarnation or afterlife? The most important characteristic of the Ba was its ability to move. They would have to go through the 'Underworld' to reach the 'Afterlife' and it wasn't easy. As it was believed, they would have contend with gods, strange creatures and gatekeepers.

That wasn't all, they would have to reach 'Osiris' god and chief of the 'Underworld' and the 'Hall of Final Judgment'. For getting thought the underworld, the deceased was thought to be needing magic.

That was why the 'Book of the Dead' was created. This book was buried with the deceased so it could help getting through the underworld. They believed that the spirit form of the person would live life normally like they had done before. Many wealthy people, like emperors, bought their servants and officials to grave with them as they wanted their lives to be the same again in the 'Afterlife'.

This practice was done for about years and then stopped. The first emperor, Qin Shi Huang, ordered a full army built out clay to protect him on the other side of the 'Afterlife'. People in Ancient China and Ancient Egypt believed that these lives after their death would be similar to the lives they had lived.

These a big part of death for these two Ancient worlds The deceased would plead for the approval to go to the 'Afterlife' from 14 divine judges. The 'Book of the Dead' would provide the correct words for each of the judges.

This ensured the deceased would pass even if they were not completely honest. The deceased heart would then be weighed against a feather of the goddess Ma-at on a golden scale. If the heart was found heavier, it would be fed to Ammut the 'Devourer'. But if the heart was found lighter the deceased would have passed the test and was taken before 'Osiris' who welcomed the deceased to the Field of Rushes. This life-size army was found by framers in who were digging a well. These figures were made out of clay and the Terracotta Army held more than 8, soldiers, chariots with horses and cavalry horses.

In the first vault contained life size soldiers and this vault was the size of an airplane hangar. The soldiers were also with horses and they all face east. Every soldier has a life size weapon and some are real. Ever soldier differs in social expressions, clothing, hair style and gestures. The vault measures about meters long and 62 meters wide and the bottom of the pit varies from 4. Wealthy people Wealthy people could afford gold jewellery to be buried with them.

This inhumane practice was replaced by little cravings of slaves in tombs. The coffins of the wealthy were first made out of limestone but that quickly changed as this mineral dissolved the body quickly.

The coffin made out of limestone changed to make a coffin out of wood and stone. Cases of royalty were made out of solid old or silver and the interior were made out of wood or metals. The internal organs of the deceased were out in four jars each with a face of a god as a cap. These were called the canopic jars Poor people Vault two consists of 4 units measuring 94 meters to the west, 84 meters to the south and it is also 5 meters deep. The first unit contains rows of kneeling and standing archers.

The second unit contains an array of war chariots. The third unit consists of mixed forces of infantry, chariots and troopers standing in a rectangular array. The four units form a rigorous battle array. This vault is the last vault of the Terracotta army.

Vault three is the smallest one of the vaults. In this vault it is obvious that it represents the commanding post. All of the figures are officials many without heads. There are 68 Terracotta figures in total in this vault. In the earliest period of Ancient Egypt, poor people were buried in the dessert.

At the end of the period poor people tried to mummify their relatives as well as they could afford. Poor people were buried with everyday objects and food. Objects like pots and pans were buried with the poor. The wealthy were buried with an ample objects they would need for the 'Afterlife'. Family members and servants were sometimes sacrificed so the deceased would have them in the 'Afterlife'.

Poor people didn't get much to bury their relatives with but they did put some burial goods for the next life of the deceased. Living creatures like dogs and horses were sacrificed so the deceased could also have them in the next life. Bronze vessels, weapons, Oracle bones are some of the objects buried with the deceased.

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Egyptian burial is the common term for the ancient Egyptian funerary rituals concerning death and the soul’s journey to the afterlife. Eternity, according to the historian Bunson, “was the common destination of each man, woman and child in Egypt” (87) but not `eternity’ as in an afterlife.

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Funerary Customs Much of our knowledge about ancient Egyptian culture comes from archaeological evidence uncovered in tombs. Objects, inscriptions, and paintings from tombs have led Egyptologists to conclude that what appeared to be a preoccupation with death was in actuality an overwhelming desire to secure and perpetuate in the afterlife the "good life" enjoyed on earth.

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These elaborate customs were born of the ancient Egyptian belief that proper burial and preservation were necessary for rebirth in the afterlife. Depending on wealth, Egyptians were buried with a variety of material goods from their former lives, offerings to carry with them into the afterlife. Funerary rites. The concluding funerary rites took place in front of the tomb. The mummy was raised upright for the ‘Opening of the Mouth’ ceremony. This was an elaborate ritual performed by priests so .

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Muslim funerals are usually held in a Mosque, where the imam leads the funeral goers in special funeral prayers known as janazah. After the funeral prayers, the body is taken to the cemetery or the family's mausoleum, but only men are allowed to accompany the body for this part of the funeral. The Late Period saw a resurgence of New Kingdom customs which the indigenous population adhered to until the abandonment of the ancient Egyptian religion in favour of Christianity in the Byzantine Period.