Page images
PDF
EPUB

sometimes made from the south, but never from the west;
the top of the mastaba is quite flat.

The interior of the complete maștaba consists of three The parts, the chamber, the serdâb, and the pit. Having entered mastaba

chamber. the Chamber by the door in the side, it is found to be either without any ornamentation whatever, or to be covered with sculptures. At the bottom of the chamber usually facing the

[graphic][ocr errors][merged small]
[ocr errors]

east, is a stele, which, whether the walls are inscribed or not,
is always inscribed. At the foot of the stele, on the bare
ground, is often a table of offerings made of granite, alabaster,
or calcareous stone; two obelisks, or two supports for offerings,
are often found at each side of this table. Besides these
things the chamber has no furniture, and it rarely has a door.
B. M.

Y

[ocr errors]

Not far from the chamber, oftener to the south than to the north, and oftener to the north than to the west, is a lofty but narrow nook hidden in the thickness of the masonry, and built with large stones; this nook is called the Serdâb.' Sometimes the serdâb has no communication whatever with the other parts of the mastaba, but sometimes a rectangular passage, so

Use of
the serdâh.

[graphic][subsumed][subsumed][subsumed][ocr errors][ocr errors][ocr errors][ocr errors][ocr errors][ocr errors][ocr errors]

9. Figures in relief in a Maştaba at Gizeh. Vth dynasty.

narrow that the hand can only be inserted with difficulty, leads from the serdâb into the chamber; in the serdab statues of the deceased were placed and the narrow passage served

' A serdab, Vlow, strictly speaking, is a lofty, vaulted, subterranean chamber, with a large opening in the north side to admit air in the hot weather,

[graphic]
[ocr errors]
[ocr errors]
[ocr errors]
[ocr errors]
[ocr errors]
[ocr errors]
[ocr errors]
[ocr errors]
[ocr errors]
[ocr errors]
[ocr errors]
[ocr errors]
[ocr errors]
[ocr errors]

10. West wall of a chamber in the tomb of Ptah-hetep. Vth dynasty.

and sar

to conduct to them the smoke of incense or perfume. The interior of the serdab is never inscribed, and nothing but statues, inscribed with the names and titles of the persons whom they represented, have ever been found in them. Statues were at times placed in the court in front of the mastaba. The pit, square or rectangular in form, but never round, leads to the chamber where the mummy was laid ; it is situated in the middle of the greater axis of the mastaba

nearer to the north than the south, and varies in depth from The maş. 40 to 80 feet. The top part of the pit where it passes taba pit

through the platform on which the mastaba stands, is built of cophagus fine large stones. There was neither ladder nor staircase, chamber.

leading to the funereal chamber at the bottom of the pit, hence the coffin and the mummy when once there were inaccessible. At the bottom of the pit, on the south side, is an opening into a passage from four to five feet high; this passage leads obliquely to the south-east, in the same direction as the upper chamber, and soon after increases in size in all directions, and thus becomes the sarcophagus chamber. This chamber is exactly under the upper chamber, and the relatives of the deceased in standing there, would have the deceased beneath their feet. In one corner of the lower chamber stood the rectangular sarcophagus made of fine calcareous stone, rose granite or black basalt; the top of the cover was rounded. The upper chamber contained no statues, ushabtiu figures, amulets, canopic jars, nor any of the numerous things which formed the furniture of the tomb in later times; in the sarcophagus were, at times, a pillow or a few vases, but little else. When the body had been placed in the sarcophagus, and the cover of the sarcophagus had been cemented down on it, the entrance to the passage at the bottom of the pit was walled up, the pit itself was filled with stones, earth and sand, and the deceased was thus preserved from all ordinary

chances of disturbance. Charac

The tombs of the mastaba class stop suddenly at the end teristics of the first six dynasties ; of tombs belonging to one of the of the earliest

first three dynasties, M. Mariette found 4 at Șaķķârah ; of maşțabas. the IVth dynasty 43 ; of the Vth dynasty 61; and of the

VIth dynasty 25. The mastabas of the first three dynasties

have but one upper chamber, which is built of brick, the stelæ 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 formulæ become fixed, and the statues in the serdâbs, 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 Shekh 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 mașțabas of the Vith dynasty show a decided decadence, and lose their fine proportions; the figures are in light relief, the formulæ become longer, and the chambers are built of brick and covered with thin sculptured slabs of stone.

The walls of the upper chambers of mașțabas were Ornamenfrequently covered with scenes which, according to M. tation

of the Mariette, are without any representation of divinities and mastaba. 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 stelæ in the upper chamber. The scenes depicted on the walls of the mașțabas are divided by Mariette into three classes: 1, Biographical, 2, Sepulchral, and 3, those relating to funereal gifts. Biographical scenes are found in tombs of all periods. The deceased is

« PreviousContinue »