White Colour Symbolism in Funeral Rites of the Ancient Egyptian Old Kingdom

Vostok/Oriens '2015, №2

The article analyses cases of white-washing of ceramic vessels, burial places and cult chapels of the Old Kingdom tombs. The main sources are the data from the investigations of the Russian Archaeological Mission at Giza (Egypt) and previously published data from excavations at Saqqara. Considering white color as the symbol of purity and sanctity, the author comes to conclusion that the process of white-washing and white-plastering of the pottery from burial chambers and cult chapels of tombs, burial places and the most important places in chapels (“false doors” and tomb stelae) probably meant their ritual purification. This process began during the Fifth Dynasty but gained the greatest distribution during the Sixth Dynasty that correlated with ideological changes in Ancient Egypt in the second half of the third millennium BCE.

Keywords: Ancient Egypt, Old Kingdom, funeral rites, ceramics

Pages: С. 20–32

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