« PreviousContinue »
The mastaba pit and sarcophagus chamber.
Characteristics of the earliest mastabas.
to conduct to them the smoke of incense or perfume. The
have but one upper chamber, which is built of brick, the stelae are very deeply cut, the hieroglyphics and the figures are in relief, and display more vigour than at any other time; the inscriptions are terse, and the use of phonetic signs less common than in later times. These tombs can hardly be said to be oriented at all, for they are, at times, as much as twelve degrees west of the true north. In the second half of the IVth dynasty, mastabas have a size and extent hitherto unknown; they are either built entirely of black brick or of stone. Their orientation becomes accurate, the figures and hieroglyphics are well executed, the formulae become fixed, and the statues in the serdābs, which are very numerous, unite the vigour of those of the first half of the IVth with the delicacy of those of the Vth dynasty. The famous wooden statue of the Shēkh el-Beled belongs to this time. In the Vth dynasty mastabas are not so large, but they are always built of stone; inside there are more chambers than one, approached by long passages, and the statues are not so characteristic as those of the latter half of the IVth dynasty. The mastabas of the VIth dynasty show a decided decadence, and lose their fine proportions; the figures are in light relief, the formulae become longer, and the chambers are built of brick and covered with thin sculptured slabs of stone.
The walls of the upper chambers of mastabas were frequently covered with scenes which, according to M. Mariette, are without any representation of divinities and religious emblems, the names of deities, and characters employed in the course of writing naturally excepted. The inscription which asks the god Anubis to grant a happy burial to the deceased, after a long and happy old age, to make his way easy for him on the roads in the underworld, and to grant the bringing to the tomb a perpetual supply of funereal gifts, is inscribed in bold hieroglyphics over the entrances to the tomb, and upon the most conspicuous places on the stelae in the upper chamber. The scenes depicted on the walls of the mastabas are divided by Mariette into three classes: I, Biographical, 2, Sepulchral, and 3, those relating to funereal gifts. Biographical scenes are sound in tombs of all periods. The deceased is
Ornamentation of the
represented hunting or fishing, taking part in pleasure excursions by water, and listening to music played before him accompanied by the dancing of women ; he is also represented as overseer of a number of building operations in which many workmen are employed. It is tolerably certain that these scenes are not fictitious, and that they were painted while the person who hoped to occupy the tomb was still alive, and could direct the labours of the artist. The prayer that the deceased might enter his tomb after a
o long and prosperous life has a significance which it could - not possess if the tomb were made after his death. The sepulchral scenes refer to the passage of the mummy in a boat to Amenta. The scenes relating to sepulchral gifts
Endowment of tombs.
represent the deceased, having colossal proportions compared
|M - the }} SQLZ § cher heb or priest. The Egyptian called
the tomb o Fl pa t'etta, “the everlasting house,” and he
believed that the ka til or “genius” of the deceased resided there as long as the mummy of his perishable body, so cha, was there. The ka might go in and out of the tomb, and refresh itself with meat and drink, but it never failed to go back to the mummy with the name of which it seems to have been closely connected; the N ba or soul, and the
$. chu or intelligence did not live in the tomb.
The royal tombs of the early dynasties were built in the form of pyramids, and they are, to all intents and purposes, merely mastabas, the greater parts of which are above
* Herz und Leib vereint bilden das L! oder die Persönlichkeit des Menschen,
l das dem Individuum eigenthiimliche Wesen, die ihn von andern unterscheidet und mit seinem Namen in engster Verbindung steht. Brugsch, Die Aegyptologie, p. 181.