Imagini ale paginilor

of hieroglyphics contains the general formula of funereal inscription, and, as far as the sense can be ascertained by Mr. Pettigrew, it signifies "This is a chosen gift to Re Atmoo, Lord of the two regions of Phut (or the Lybian side of the Nile), Pthah Sokari Osiris, Lord of the Sacred Place, the Manifester of Good, King of the Gods, the great Ra, Lord of Heaven. Give chosen offerings of incense for Osiris, the lady of the house, priestess of the (sacred abode?), Tan'ofre, deceased." Figure 4 shews the manner in which the cartonage is secured; for it will be remembered that the inner cases are made of many layers of gummed cloth cemented together, and plastered with lime on the inside. They are as firm as a board, and require to be sawed through to get at the body; which last is enveloped in linen bandages, still retaining considerable strength after enduring an age of perhaps three thousand years.

No. 3193 is a large funereal statue in the form of a mummy-case, standing on a base which, from its boldness of design and elaborate ornaments, cannot but attract attention. The figure is that of the "lady of a house," as wives are called, and a medallist would deem her a full-grown and well-spread woman. The whole has undergone a very careful examination by my learned friend Mr. Birch, of the British Museum; and, although he does not deem his translation of the hieroglyphics to be rigorously exact, I cannot but follow him in so interesting a beat. It, at least, yields a glance into the extent of meaning borne upon these figures; and we cannot but call to mind that the worship of "graven images" had its origin in the east, which alike cradled religion and nursed superstition. This relic was brought from Egypt by Belzoni, in 1819.

This statue then, according to Mr. Birch, represents a married lady named Ta-na-ua, daughter of Har, a priest of the God Mentu, and of a lady named Nesmut; she is also grand-daughter of a scribe of the things brought into Thebes-a publican, as our version of the New Testament translates a similar function. The lady's hair is elegantly bound with a wreath, having in front the vulture, emblem of rank and maternity; and round her neck is a collar, below which is a representation of the outer reticulated coat of mummies.

On the breast is the goddess Nupe, kneeling and winged, stretching out her arms and pinions; her name is written in the disc on her head, and she kneels upon a bolted gate, being thus depicted to represent the mystical spreading forth of the canopy of Heaven. Here follows a peculiar prayer,* and then two judgment scenes: in one of the latter, Thoth introduces the deceased into the Hall of Truth, before Osiris, followed by the four genii of the dead; in the other the same scene takes place in presence of Phthah Soctaris. The next horizontal line, the speech of Nupe (Heaven), "who produced the gods, and has given meals of food and drink, veal and geese, all good and pure things, incense and clothes," to the deceased. The following compartment represents the amunti, each in a shrine, and each uttering the same speech-"I am thy beloved son, O Osiris; I am daily at thy side." Below this, a band of hieroglyphics contains two speeches of Seb, the father of Osiris, who says that "he gives food," or "meals of meat and drink, veal and geese, to Osiris." In the next division, are two figures of Anoup holding the bandages of the embalmers; and they declare that they have furnished meals of clean and delicious things. The succeeding inscription is one in which Atum announces that he gives incense to Osiris; which is followed by representations of Horus and Seb, both of whom state that they have given Osiris a good embalming in the cemetery of the western hills of Thebes. The band beneath this contains the titles of AmunRa-"the Light of the Earth, the Good God, Lord of Heaven, the Superior of the Gods," twice repeated; and under them are the two sacred eyes of Horus. Below this are two female jeni, or professional mourners and layers-out of the dead; behind whom is the dual form of Thoth, singularly seated. In the lowest compartment, or that which covers the feet, are the two couchant jackals significant of the solar path, above the goddess Isis, who, with widely expanded wings, and wearing the type of Upper and Lower Egypt, is in the

* The prayers on the bust of this mummy-case will be found in Sharpe's "Egyptian Inscriptions,” plate 52; where the lines one to forty, including all the horizontal ones on the right side, comprise the fifty-seventh chapter of the great funereal ritual (Lepsius Todtenbuch, tab. xxii. c. 57), the title of which is,-"The chapter of breathing the winds, and prevailing over the water in Hades."

attitude of protecting the remains of her brother. The central vertical line of inscription is the usual dedication, a kind of Orate pro animá, to Osiris, Lord of the West, Great God, Lord of Abydos, who hath given offerings of kuphi (sacerdotal incense) to the deceased.

Such are the abstract relations of this interesting relic, but Mr. Birch has gone considerably further with the details; and he finds two chapters of the funereal rubric on the inside of the coffin, one of which is "of knowing the spirits of An,” and the other "of knowing Tum or Atum, and Athor, the Spirits of the West,-which are under rigid investigation: there are, to be sure, some difficulties in the complete unravelment, which, however, he hopes to overcome. Meantime I trust that enough has been said to shew that Egypt ought to be sedulously studied, in order to place on a sure foundation historical and chronological matters, which till lately seemed to be involved in inextricable obscurity. Much has been done: and, even though many may hesitate in conceding that we have arrived at unquestionable conclusions, still the extraordinary and early progress of the Egyptians in architecture, in sculpture, and in all the arts of life, as attested by imperishable remains, presents a remarkable and undeniable phenomenon. The whole country, indeed, is an illustrated colossal monument of a people highly-cultivated and important long before Homer wrote a line; and a treasury of historic knowledge, which the recent application of the phonetic key has partially opened. The most marvellous of the stories told by Herodotus and Diodorus Siculus may not, as yet, obtain implicit credence; yet many of their assertions have been fully proved in the recent researches, and more especially in all that relates to mummies and the preparations for making them, in which the Semitic practitioners assuredly evinced a high degree of practical knowledge in chemistry. The veneration for the dead must be viewed in a two-fold light; in the religious feeling mentioned on page 169, and a moral veneration for the departed. What the Egyptians performed after the death of each of their kings, clearly evidences the great love they bore to them. For honour done him that cannot possibly know it, in a grateful

return of a former benefit, carries along with it a testimony of sincerity without the least colour of dissimulation." A thorough-bred Mizraimite would have adopted the beautiful lines of Southey

[merged small][graphic][subsumed][ocr errors][subsumed][subsumed][merged small][merged small]
« ÎnapoiContinuă »