The Liturgy of Funerary Offerings

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The Liturgy of Funerary Offerings

By E. A. Wallis Budge

The Sixteenth Ceremony

The Vignette which illustrates the next ceremony shows us the SEM priest kneeling before a small table on which rests a bread-cake, which is called "the Uten-cake, for the lifting up of the face." Whilst this bread-cake is being offered, the Kher heb said, according to the text of Unas, four times:--

"SUTEN HETEP TA to the KA of Unas."

These words were followed by:--

"Osiris Unas, the Eye of Horus hath been presented unto thee--the bread which thou eatest."


The Sem priest offering the Uten cake.

According to the text of Peta-Amen-apt the Uten-cake is to be divided into two equal parts, and the words "Suten hetep ta, to the KA of Peta-Amen-apt" are to be said four times in connection with each half. Whilst the SMEN priest offers these the Kher heb says four times:--

"Osiris, the Eye of Horus hath been presented unto thee--the bread which thou eatest, and thy mouth hath been opened thereby."

It has been said above that, though the words suten hetep ta may at one time have been intended to mean "May the king give an offering," it is clear they had already lost this meaning when the funerary texts were inscribed on the mastabas at Sakkarah. The passage from the text of Unas is an important proof that such is the case, for it is quite clear that the king is not entreated to give to Unas an offering. Here the words suten hetep ta occur some forty lines from the beginning of the Liturgy, where, in the ordinary course of things, we should expect them to appear. From the fact that they are ordered to be recited four times in one text, and eight times in the other, we are fully justified in believing that they are the opening words of a formula which was composed in primitive times and recited by priests and relatives on behalf of the dead, and that they were used by pious folk, as Dümichen first pointed out, in much the same way as "Paternoster" and "Ave Maria" are used in our own times. It may be noted too in passing that the passage from the Liturgy under consideration presents us with one of the oldest examples of the use of the formula "suten hetep ta en ka en," "May there be a royal offering to the KA of," which is so common on stelae from the XIIth Dynasty downwards.



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