Representations of Demons in the Egyptian ‘Book of Two Ways’ 

The demon Ikenty represented as a large bird with a black feline head on a Middle Kingdom coffin. The same demon appears as a large bird on a much older leather roll. by WAEL SHERBINY

The demon Ikenty represented as a large bird with a black feline head on a Middle Kingdom coffin. The same demon appears as a large bird on a much older leather roll.
(Wael Serbiny)

Between Texts and Images: Representations of the supernatural entities in the so-called Book of Two Ways 

A Belgium-based Egyptologist has discovered the oldest depictions of ancient Egyptian demons, showing that demonic entities populated the ancient Egyptians’ imaginations as far back as 4,000 years ago.

Ammut, a female demon from ancient Egypt with a body that was part lion, hippopotamus and crocodile—the three largest “man-eating” animals known to ancient Egyptians. A funerary deity, her titles included “Devourer of the Dead,” and “Eater of Hearts.” ( Public Domain )

Ammut, a female demon from ancient Egypt with a body that was part lion, hippopotamus and crocodile—the three largest “man-eating” animals known to ancient Egyptians. A funerary deity, her titles included “Devourer of the Dead,” and “Eater of Hearts.” ( Public Domain )

The sun god Ra, in the form of a Great Hare, slays the demon snake Apep, who embodied chaos. - (Public Domain)

The sun god Ra, in the form of a Great Hare, slays the demon snake Apep, who embodied chaos. – (Public Domain)

Sehaqeq, the headache demon. Ostracon Leipzig, Ägyptisches Museum Georg Steindorff. Inv.-No. 5152. ( Rita Lucarelli/UCLA ) -

Sehaqeq, the headache demon. Ostracon Leipzig, Ägyptisches Museum Georg Steindorff. Inv.-No. 5152. ( Rita Lucarelli/UCLA ) –

Between Texts and Images: Representations of the supernatural entities in the so-called Book of Two Ways 

Abstract by Wael Sherbiny Presented recently at the International Conference on Ancient Egyptian Demonology at Swansea University, U.K., these demons gripped their victims and cut off their heads.

“Although textual descriptions of all sorts of supernatural entities are attested in the religious texts as early as the Pyramid Texts (if not earlier), the visual expressions about these entities are scarce in the documents bearing religious texts antedating the elaborate representations from the New Kingdom onwards (such as the Book of the Dead, the Amduat, etc).

Guardian demons of Spell 145 of the Book of the Dead. (Rita Lucarelli/UCLA )

Guardian demons of Spell 145 of the Book of the Dead. (Rita Lucarelli/UCLA )

A great deal of the iconographic information attested within the Coffin Texts proper on the insides of the decorated Middle Kingdom coffins was deemed secondary by the editors of the celebrated Coffin Texts Project of the Oriental Institute (The University of Chicago). This textually biased approach resulted in omitting several iconographic details. Since almost all of these coffins were never scientifically published as archaeological objects, only the published texts as appeared in The Egyptian Coffin Texts formed the basis for all the subsequent studies. The composition of the so-called Book of Two Ways offers the best examples of highly elaborate representations of supernatural entities introduced into the corpus of the Coffin Texts.During my intensive research on the composition of the so-called Book of Two Ways which has been going on for the past seventeen years, I discovered, to my surprise, a large number of iconographic details in the supposedly-published material that were simply skipped by the Coffin Texts editors. These include inter alia a number of new pictorial renderings of various supernatural entities. In my paper a brief reference will be made to images of the supernatural entities I discovered on the oldest surviving leather roll from Ancient Egypt (2300-2000 B.C.), the discovery of which I announced in the last International Congress of Egyptologists in Florence.

Source: Decapitating Demons May Be the Oldest Fearsome Entities of Ancient Egypt

 

About Stan Flouride

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