Tombs in Ancient Egypt

It was believed, in ancient Egypt, a tomb, they are designed and built correctly, has the power to give life and give immortality to its owner died. Thus, for many years could be devoted to the preparation and construction of tombs, which were known to the ancient Egyptians as "houses of eternity." Contractors and supervisors were instructed to perform rituals during the construction and guidelines were provided on where to build, how to design and also materials to use.

Tombs in Ancient Egypt

Types of Tombs:


Simple Pit-Graves:


A simple hole in the ground which was just large enough to hold the body of the deceased and a few grave goods. Over the years lining of wood or stone, a roof and then small chambers were added. Pit graves were the most common type of graves, usually belonging to commoners.


Mastabas:


These tombs first appeared in the Predynastic period when they were used to protect the burial of Kings, the mastaba being an oblong heaps of stone which would cover the grave. These blocks covered the real tomb - the body was still buried in the ground, a narrow shaft would lead down to a small chamber in the rock - it was here that the body would have its final resting place. After the burial the chamber was sealed and the shaft was filled with rubble.

Mastaba Art History Definition


Rock-cut Chapels:


In these type of tombs, the oblong heap of rough, un-cut stones of the mastaba was replaced by square-cut granite or limestone. The size of the tomb also increased to accommodate more burial goods. These were common during the Middle Kingdom, especially for burial of Kings.

Tombs in Ancient Egypt


Pyramid-tombs:


Perhaps, the most famous of Egyptian Burial Tombs, pyramids were the grand structures, built as tombs for the Pharaohs of the New Kingdom to last for all eternity. The dead were accompanied by all the things necessary for a comfortable afterlife.

Ancient Egyptian Pyramids


Construction of Tombs:


All tombs had two essential architectural components that reflected their religious function  a burial chamber and a nearby mortuary chapel. The burial chamber was below ground and housed and protected the body and spirit. The mortuary chapel was above ground and was accessible to visitors who would perform rites and make offerings of food and drink for the dead person. False doors were also placed in these chapels to establish a connection between the worlds of the living and the dead. 

Tombs in Ancient Egypt

The design on the door allowed the spirit of the person to move freely between the chapel and the tomb to receive offerings. Terracotta funerary cones were inscribed with the owner's name and placed above the entrance to the tomb. The pointed end allowed them to be pressed into the plaster above the doorway. Funerary cones were used from the Middle Kingdom onwards but mainly during the New Kingdom, and appeared most often in private tombs around Thebes.

Egyptian burial chambers were never meant to be viewed. They were packed with an astounding array of artwork - sacred and magical. As the point of contact between the mortal and the immortal, art had the power to transport a person, to free them from the silent immobility of death. It was a way of controlling the chaotic, evil forces in the universe that sought to undermine universal order. 

 

Whether mass produced or commissioned, art in the form of painting, sculpture, carving and script had the power to maintain universal order by appealing to the gods to act on behalf of the dead tomb owner and ensure his safe arrival and eternal nourishment in the afterlife.
 
 




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