September 13, 2013

Tomb of Ramses IX

Tomb of Ramses IX
This is a traditional tomb comprising three chambers, one following the other in a straight line. It is approached via an inclined plane with steps on either side. Flanking the doorway are representations of the deceased: he burns incense and makes an offering of a vase to Harmachis-Amon-Ra and to a goddess at (a), and to Amon and Osiris at (b). (The side chambers are undecorated).

On the right-hand wall (c), especially over the second chamber to the right, are some of the weird creatures of the underworld, each represented nine times. This was the sacred number identified with the Nine gods of the Ennead; it also represented the triple-triads. There are nine serpents, nine demons with bull’s heads, nine figures surrounded by oval frames and nine human figures with the heads of jackals.

The sacred texts of the sun’s journey through the underworld begin here. On the left-hand side of the corridor (d), a priest, in the role of ‘Horus who supports his mother’, pours the symbols for Life, Health and Prosperity over the deceased pharaoh who is represented in the form of Osiris. The scene symbolically portrays burial rites for the deceased pharaoh in the manner of those performed by Horus and Isis for Osiris in the popular myth.

The second corridor (2) is guarded to left and right (e) by great serpents, rearing themselves to prevent entry through one of the ‘Gates of Osiris’. On the left-hand wall (f) is the beginning of another text from the Book of the Dead. The deceased pharaoh is shown advancing into the tomb. In front of him is a goddess who holds his names to identify him and announce his entrance. He greets (further along the wall) a hawk-headed deity who declares that he will give the deceased pharaoh his ‘power, years and seat’ in other words, power to be reborn and rule in the afterlife. On the opposite wall (g) are demons and spirits.

Two great guardian serpents guard the entrance to the third corridor (3). On the right-hand wall (h) the pharaoh presents an image of Maat to Ptah of Memphis; beside Ptah stands the goddess Maat herself. Further along is a representation of the mummy of the deceased pharaoh stretched across a mountain. This is a fine symbolic representation of rebirth. Just as the scarab and the sun- disc (represented above) are reborn each morning, so too, would the pharaoh be reborn.

Towards the middle of this same wall at (i) are ritualistic representations, including four men spitting out scarabi as they bend over backwards, demons standing upon serpents, serpents pierced by arrows and the scarab in a boat with two Horus eyes, the most protective of the charms.

On the left-hand wall (j) are the boats of the Sun-god (centre) that travel through the second and third hours of night bearing protective deities.

The passage now opens into a chamber (4). On each side of the doorway leading to the tomb chamber (k) and (1) is a figure clad in a leopard skin. The one on the right is represented with arms raised above the symbolic standard of the ibis, symbol of Thoth the god of Wisdom. That to the left holds a bowl of libation water over the standard of the ram, symbol of Khnum of Elephantine. These figures symbolise the bestowing of Wisdom and Purity on the deceased pharaoh as he approaches the Court of Osiris.

Chamber No. 5 is rough and unfinished. It slopes downwards to the burial chamber through a corridor (6). In the burial chamber (7) there are traces of the sarcophagus on the floor, and on the walls are gods and demons. The goddess Nut, representing the morning and evening skies, is shown across the rough ceiling in two figures. Below are constellations and boats of stars. On the rear wall (m) is the child Horus, seated within the winged sun-disc. This simple symbol represents rebirth after death.

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