Masks Of Deceased Persons : Ancient Egypt

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Masks of deceased persons are part of traditions in many countries. The most important process of the funeral ceremony in ancient Egypt was the mummification of the body, which, after prayers and consecration, was put into a sarcophagus enameled and decorated with gold and gems. A special element of the rite was a sculpted mask, put on the face of the deceased. This mask was believed to strengthen the spirit of the mummy and guard the soul from evil spirits on its way to the afterworld.

The best known mask is that of Tutankhamun now in the Egyptian Antiquities Museum in Cairo. Made of gold and gems, the mask conveys the features of the ancient ruler. Most funerary masks were not made of solid gold, however, living persons in ancient Egypt might have employed transformational spells to assume nonhuman forms. These masks were not made from casts of the features; rather, the mummification process itself preserved the features of the deceased.

Masks were a very important aspect of Ancient Egyptian burials. In common with the anthropoid coffin they provided the dead with a face in the afterlife. In addition they also enabled the spirit to recognize the body.

Masked priests, priestesses or magicians, disguising themselves as divine beings, such as Anubis or Beset, almost assuredly assumed such identities to exert the powers associated with those deities. Funerary masks and other facial coverings for mummies emphasized the ancient

Egyptian belief in the fragile state of
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