Friday, 24 December 2010

Mummification Museum lecture - Exploring the sacred district Kelly Anne Diamond

We have had one lecture, still no news of the series but here are my notes.

Exploring the sacred district Kelly Anne Diamond
Kelly has been looking into an area shown on early New kingdom private tombs, located on the left wall of the passage in T-shaped tombs.
Now whilst I don’t have her slides I do have a link to a great picture on osirisnet of exactly what she was talking about so you can see.

It is an area that looks like a garden and believes she has found similar scenes elsewhere
• Djer plaque, there are shrines with trees and a canal
• In the Old Kingdom with Mww dancers in front, Ptahotep and Idut are examples
• 5th dynasty sun temple
• Early 13th dynasty example at Avarice
Identifying this is tricky because it is not known various authors give various descriptions, within Porter and Moss, Kelly has found different descriptions including scared garden. The transliteration is tA Dsr sometimes referred to sacred land or even cemetery or necropolis. It is possible enclosed although that is not certain and has the appearance of a plan or map. Often in conjunction with three female titles
1. dmDyt
2. mn/knwt
3. mnit wrt
The first title means she who collects and unites the limbs (putting the deceased back together like Osiris), she is shown in some examples mooring the boat of the deceased, the third wearing the great mooring post and the second mooring the boat of the deceased. (Hope I have got these right as my notes are bit muddled).
There are connections between these and the myths of Osiris, Kelly thinks these are very archaic conceptions and that the New Kingdom scribes might not have been exactly sure what they were themselves. There are also very few examples which make analysis difficult. The scene appears in the progression of tomb scenes, after the funeral and before the afterlife.
You can find it in Renni at El Kab and TT81, 21, 179, 125, 71, 224, 100,127 and 112. It is rarely found after the time of Tuthmosis III and Hatshepsut except in a couple of Ramesside tombs and Saite revivals. Renni at el Kab is one of the best examples, others being partially destroyed. The scene after this one tends to be the shrine of Osiris or Anubis. In the tomb of Rekhmire it is Osiris, rarely it can be the goddess of the west. The scene preceding it is the mww dancers.
There are various elements
• the hall of the mww
• Pool surrounded by trees
• Two obelisks
• Garden plots with or without offering stands
• Pairs of sycamore trees
• Rows of shrines sometimes with gods inside
• Women’s tent
• Three pools for Khepri, Hekat and Sokar
• Great gate or God of the gate
• Two kites
The use of knwt is a little anachronistic she suggested. The climax of use of this scene is during the reign of Hatshepsut and she wonders if there is a royal connection. The Amarna period changed the religion and tomb paintings in this area and after that the paintings only show the real events of the funeral. She believes this to be a concept, an intermediate space between living and dead. It is always on the left wall of a passage which is an intermediate area itself. Other scholars like Hartwig and Strudud(??) believe that the tomb regenerated the deceased once they crossed that line and the passage is a transition. The goal of the funeral is to access the West (afterlife) from the East (living).Sacred places are always shown low on the wall in the early 18th dynasty. The Ramesside example has it in the upper registers going round a corner. A t-shaped pool and tree goddess preceded it. Some scholars believe that the T-shaped pool shown in Ramesside tombs as the evolution of the sacred district scene.
This place could be mythical or legendary or even a real place. If we believe that the tomb is a map for the deceased then it has a connection with Anubis and Osiris as the final destination of the deceased, a buffer zone if you like.
Interestingly the Neferhotep stele mentions an area of ground outside Abydos where the tA Dsr is demarcated by a number of stele. Nobody is allowed to enter but priests and nobody can be buried there. So there is appears to be a real place but again a buffer or transitional area.
This is a work in progress subject but Kelly put forward a very convincing argument with lots of detail.

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