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Procession of Food Bearers

A tomb is simply a chamber in which the dead are buried. Some tombs are cut out of rock, others are built above ground. The world's greatest tombs- the pyramids-were built by the ancient Egyptians for their kings.

When ancient Egyptians began to bury their dead in tombs, they also filled the tombs with carved and painted images. Egyptians believed in the magic of images. If they could see something, it existed, both in this world and the next. They filled their tombs with images of food and other important possessions to make sure that they would continue their comfortable lives in the spirit world. This carving is one of the many scenes form the tomb of a government official named Ny-Ahnk-Nesut.

Look closely at the carving. Eight servants move form left to right carrying offerings for the owner of the tomb. Can you find ducks? geese? bread? flowers? How about a caged hedgehog? (Would a caged hedgehog really make your afterlife more comfortable?)

Ny-Ahnk-Nesut was an important official in Egypt during the late 5th or early 6th Dynasty. Most Egyptians could not have afforded such an elaborate tomb. What sort of afterlife could they expect? Consider what kind of people benefitted most from the Egyptian belief system?


"Procession of Food Bearers"

Tomb of Ny-Ahnk-Nesut, 6th Dynasty
c. 2300 BC

Painted limestone
From the collection of the Dallas Museum of Art, 1965.28.M.

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