May you join the crew of the Neshmet barque without being turned away.

May you join the crew of the Neshmet barque without being turned away.
~ Papyrus Anastasi I
With prevailing winds to blow you upstream (south) and a good current to carry you back, it isn't surprising that boats were so important to the ancient Egyptians. While most people are familiar with the idea of the sun god sailing through the heavens by day and the underworld by night, the boat was also an important feature of funerary rituals throughout Egypt and recently evidence has been found of their importance to the Osirian Mysteries at Thonis-Heracleion (as featured in the #SunkenCities exhibition) where a 10m boat was discovered ritually sunk along with a number of lead boat models that were thought to have been offered along with it as part of the important religious festival:
"At Abydos a model boat representing the neshmet barque, “the warship of the gods,” took part in a reenactment of the myth of the death and revival of Osiris. The priests who carried such boat-shrines played the role of the crew of the divine barques. The small boat-shrines were sometimes transported between temples on actual boats."
Pinch.G, (2002) Handbook of Egyptian Mythology, p.123

Quotation from Papyrus Anastasi I: Snape, S. R (2011) Ancient Egyptian Tombs: The culture of Life and Death UK: Blackwell

Originally shared by British Museum

The ancient Egyptians believed that the gods travelled through the night sky by boat. This chest ornament, or pectoral, discovered in the grave of a pharaoh shows a barque (a type of ancient Egyptian boat) carrying the sun god, Amun-Ra, sailing under a star-filled sky. This divine journey was evoked during festivals by the procession of boats carrying statues. A ritual boat and models of sacred barques are among the most important finds discovered in the lost city of Thonis-Heracleion.

Discover more stories of ancient Egyptian myth and belief in our #SunkenCities‬ exhibition

Gold pectoral. Tanis, Egypt, 943–922 BC. Egyptian Museum, Cairo. Photo: Christoph Gerigk © Franck Goddio/Hilti Foundation.


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