Performance and Ritual in Ancient Egyptian Funerary Practice


Thursday, April 29, 2021, 6:00pm to 7:00pm


Harvard Museum of the Ancient Near East—Online

One of the best documented Egyptian rituals—occurring in both cultic and funerary contexts—is known as the Opening of the Mouth ritual. Performing this ritual was believed to animate statues and temples, while also restoring the senses of the deceased, thus ensuring that they could eat, drink, and breathe in the afterlife. Textual and iconographic references to the ritual are found in different time periods, from the Old Kingdom through the Roman Period.

In this lecture, Mariam Ayad uses the Opening of the Mouth ritual as a case study to illustrate the power of imagery and the efficacy of the spoken word as performative aspects of Egyptian funerary practice.

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