Page images
PDF
EPUB

are fastened round their bodies by belts, from which hang short, bushy tails of jackals (?). No. I bears a hawk-standard, the symbol of the god of the tribe, and is armed with a mace having a diamond-shaped head. No. 2 bears a hawk-standard and wields a double-headed stone axe. No. 3 is armed with a mace and a bow. No. 4 is shooting a flint-tipped arrow

[graphic][graphic][subsumed][subsumed][subsumed][merged small][merged small][merged small]

from a bow. No. 5 is armed with a boomerang and a spear, and No. 6 with a mace and a boomerang. The above illustrations are drawn from the green slate shield exhibited in Table-case L in the Third Egyptian Room.

To about the same period belongs the ivory figure of a king here reproduced (No.7). He wears the Crown of the South, and a garment worked with an elaborate diamond pattern. The

nose is flatter and more fleshy than in the drawings from the slate shield, and the lips are fuller and firmer. In figures 8-10 we have representations of the women of the Archaïc Period, about B.C. 4200. No. 8 is a female dwarf, or perhaps a woman who belonged to one of the pygmy tribes that lived near the Equator. No. 9 is a most interesting figure, for it illustrates the hair-dressing and dress of the period. The features of the child, who is carried partly on the back and partly on the left shoulder, as at the present day, are well preserved. No. 10

[graphic]
[graphic]

Figure of Betchmes, a royal

Painted limestone figure of Nefer-hi. kinsman.

[No. 150, Wall-case 99, Third Egyptian : [Vestibule, South Wall, No. 3.]

Room.] PORTRAIT FIGURES OF OFFICIALS OF THE ILIRD OR IVTH DYNASTY.

ABOUT B.C. 3700.

represents a woman of slim build, with blue eyes, and wearing an elaborate head-dress, which falls over her shoulders.

National Character.—Herodotus, who was an acute observer of the manners and customs of the Egyptians, states (ii, 64) that the Egyptians were "beyond measure scrupulous "in all matters appertaining to religion," and the monuments prove him to be absolutely correct. The Egyptian worshipped his God, whose chief symbol to him was the sun, daily and regularly, and prayed to him morning and evening. His attitude towards his Maker was one of absolute resignation. The power of God, as displayed by the Sun, and the River Nile, and other forces of nature filled him with awe, and made him to realize his helplessness. His views as to the dependence of men on the sun are well illustrated by the following extract from a hymn to Aten, the god of the Solar Disk : " When thou settest in the western horizon of heaven, "the earth becometh dark with the darkness of the dead. “Men sleep in their houses, their heads are covered up, their "nostrils are closed, and no man can see his neighbour ; "everything which they possess could be stolen from under "their heads without their knowing it. All the lions come " forth from their dens, every creeping thing biteth, the smithy

[graphic]

The fox playing the double pipes for a flock of goats to march to.

· [From a papyrus in the British Museum, No. 10,016.]

"is in blackness, and all the earth is silent because he who “made them (i.e., all creatures) resteth in his horizon. When "the dawn cometh, and thou risest and shinest from the Disk, "darkness flieth away, thou givest forth thy rays, and the “Two Lands (i.e., Egypt) are in festival. Men rise up, they "stand upon their feet—it is thou who hast raised them—they “wash their bodies, and dress themselves in their clothes, and "they [stretch out] their hands to thee in thanksgiving for thy "rising.” To the god of the city, or local deity, he also paid due reverence. He worshipped Osiris, the type and symbol of the resurrection, most truly, for on his help and succour depended his hope of eternal life. The Egyptians, who were men of means, spent largely during their lifetime in making preparations for their death, and they spared neither money nor pains in their endeavours to secure for themselves life in the Other World. They observed the Religious and Civil Laws most carefully, and any breach they might make in either they thought could be amply atoned for by making offerings or payment.

The Egyptian was easy and simple in disposition, and fond of pleasure and of the good things of this world. He loved eating and drinking, and he lost no opportunity of enjoying himself. The literature of all periods is filled with passages in which the living are exhorted to be happy; and we may note that in the famous Dialogue between a man who is weary of life and his soul, the latter tells the man that

[graphic]

A mouse seated on a chair, with a table of food before it. A cat is presenting to it a palm branch, and behind it is a mouse bearing a fan, etc.

[From a papyrus in the British Museum, No. 10,016.)

to remember the grave only brings sorrow to the heart and fills the eyes with tears. And after several observations of the same import, the soul says: “Hearken unto me, for, “behold, it is good for men to hearken; follow after pleasure “and forget care.”] In the Song of the Harper we read: “ Bodies (i.e., men) have come into being in order to pass "away since the time of Rā, and young men come in their

S anto Islans DISS. 23

“ places. Rā placeth himself in the sky in the morning, and “Temu setteth in the Mountain of Sunset. Men beget "children and women bring forth, and every nostril snuffeth “the wind of dawn from the time of their birth to the day "when they go to the place which is assigned to them. Make “[thy] day happy! Let there be perfumes and sweet odours “ for thy nostrils, and let there be wreaths of flowers and lilies “for the neck and shoulders of thy beloved sister who shall “ be seated by thy side. Let there be songs and the music of " the harp before thee, and setting behind thy back unpleasant " things of every kind, remember only pleasure, until the day

[graphic]

A cat herding geese. [From a papyrus in the British Museum, No. 10,016.]

“cometh wherein thou must travel to the land which loveth “ silence.”

The advice to eat, drink, and be happy, is also given to a high-priest of Memphis by his dead wife That-l-em-ḥetep on her sepulchral tablet (Southern Egyptian Gallery, Bay 29, No. 1027). She says : “ Hail, my brother, husband, friend, “.... letí not thy heart cease to drink water, to eat bread, to

o

in Ø 85 do

14

rain

« PreviousContinue »