Ritual processional furniture: a material and religious phenomenon in Egypt

Falk, David
Ritual processional furniture: a material and religious phenomenon in Egypt. PhD thesis, University of Liverpool.

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Temples in ancient Egypt were confines of restricted sacred space. Only priests had access to the inner workings of the temples and their mysteries. During the great festivals, the gods that dwelled in these sanctuaries went on procession for everyone to see, travelling to other temples in barques of gold and wood. These barques were typical of furniture that was both religious and processional. Study of the lexicography, iconography, and function of ancient Egyptian ritual processional furniture could shed light upon the metanarrative of ancient religious practice. This research identifies the unique characteristics and lexicography of ritual processional furniture as manifest in ancient Egypt between the Old and New Kingdoms. A multidisciplinary approach is taken in regards to the data, utilizing both lexicographic and iconographic sources, to which a seven criteria conceptual framework is applied in order to select the appropriate data. The methodology used in this study is inductive and qualitative, and the conclusions are derived from primary sources. Objects that are discovered to be ritual but not processional are eliminated from further analysis. The analyzed data is synthesized and assimilated to expand the current paradigm of ritual processional objects into a new understanding. In this thesis three primary classes of ritual processional furniture are identified and examined in detail: chests, barques, and palanquin thrones. This project analyzed over sixty lexemes and three hundred fifty instances of iconography. The lexemes for twelve chests, six sacred barques, and six palanquins were found to have been used as ritual processional furniture. The iconographic study examined the pictorial instances by typology and locale. For sacred barques, the results attempted to resolve the ongoing problems concerning identification and inconsistencies between icon and text. The results for palanquin thrones showed that the iconography from sacred barques was appropriated and compressed elevating the king to a focus of religious adoration. This extensive study of Egyptian ritual processional furniture contributes to the ongoing dialogue regarding the material and cultural context of religious expression by synthesizing the paradigm of temple sacred space upon smaller physical objects. The contribution to knowledge has been to flesh out the identities of specific instances of ritual processional furnishing and to assimilate the architectural understanding of sacred space with the available data so as to arrive at a new understanding of the existing paradigm. The significance of these contributions is that they further develop our understanding of the religious cultural context of ancient Egypt.

Item Type: Thesis (PhD)
Additional Information: Date: 2015-05 (completed)
Subjects: ?? BL ??
?? D051 ??
Depositing User: Symplectic Admin
Date Deposited: 30 Jul 2015 15:05
Last Modified: 17 Dec 2022 01:16
DOI: 10.17638/02012561
URI: https://livrepository.liverpool.ac.uk/id/eprint/2012561