Apotropaic Figures Based on Spell 182 in prt m hrw

Rasha Omran

Abstract


The term "Apotropaic" (Altenmüller, 1977) means supposedly having the power to avert evil influences or bad luck. Apotropaic Figures refer to a large group of protective deities. They were represented either in the form of a complete animal and human or a mixture of them holding knives, lizards and snakes. Their aim was to create a protective environment around the deceased body and repel evil away from it. Those protectors were known since the Middle Kingdom as represented on the ivory wands. During the New Kingdom, they were shown on the papyrus rolls, on the walls of some royal tombs or taking the form of a three – dimensional wooden sculpture. In the Third Intermediate Period and Late Period, those protective deities appeared again on the walls of royal and private coffins and sarcophagi as well as papyri. They sometimes appeared in the form of stone figures with different forms and numbers. The current research was undertaken to define on the so-called apotropaic deities in Ancient Egyptian conception; to focus on the function of apotropaic deities in Ancient Egyptian religion; to determine the various forms and numbers  (Taylor, 2010) of apotropaic deities throughout the history of Egypt beginning with their first appearance during the Middle Kingdom; to refer to creatures and tools held  by the hands of apotropaic deities and their religious significance; to follow the development of representing the apotropaic deities from just scenes to three – dimensional figures in the New Kingdom royal tombs; and to mention the material and color of apotropaic figures. The results revealed that since the Middle Kingdom until the end of the Egyptian history, apotropaic deities in all their forms were considered as the responsible deities of repelling evil away of the deceased mummy and creating protective surroundings. Apotropaic deities are carved in the form of wooden and stone statuettes with different poses such as sitting, squatting, standing as well as half – turning. 


Keywords


Apotropaic Figures, Spell 151, Spell 182, Book of the Dead, Ivory Knives, Wooden Statuettes

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