Sample Art Paper on The Ka in Ancient Egypt
Religion played a significant role in Ancient Egypt as it greatly influenced the Egyptians’perceptions and beliefs, thus affecting their daily practices. The Egyptian religious convictions comprised fundamental aspects such as the nature of their gods, the origin of the universe, death, and the afterlife. According to Garry Shaw, the Ancient Egyptians devoted a significant part of their resources preparing for the afterlife, which they perceived to be a more fulfilling phase of their lives (50).
The effects of religion on the Ancient Egyptian views on death and the afterlife are evident in their perception about the Ka and the numerous monuments created to symbolize life after death. Besides, the Ancient Egyptian view on death and the afterlife is also revealed in their burial practices, which are similar to those of the Ancient Aegean Mycenaean culture.
Three Monuments that were created for the Ka
As cited by Shaw, the Ka was regarded sacred to the Ancient Egyptians, as it consists of part of the human soul (90). The Ancient Egyptians believed that all individuals were born with the Ka, which continued to live even after death as long as it had a permanent dwelling place. For this reason, most people dedicated their resources to creating monuments in which their own Ka would reside after death. For instance, the Ka of Pharaoh Khafre who ruled during the Fourth Dynasty of Ancient Egypt is believed to dwell in the monuments created during his reign and after his death. One such monument is Khafre’s sculpture, set up from a precious rock that was extremely hard and dark, excavated from the depths of the Nile River from the royal quarries. The Pharaoh’s sculpture played a significant role in Ancient Egypt since it served as a substitute dwelling for Khafre’s Ka in case his mummified body was damaged.
In addition, the Pyramid of Khafre was a monument created to emphasize the importance and sanctity of Ka. It was the second largest among the Early Egyptian Pyramids of Giza and it served as Khafre’s tomb. The architectural designs on Khafre’s pyramid comprised of such diverse set of buildings including the Valley Temple of Khafre, the Great Sphinx, and a mortuary temple, indicating the Egyptian belief in the afterlife. The pyramid served as Pharaoh’s tomb whereby his mummified body was buried along with his earthly possessions signifying a peaceful eternity for Khafre’s ka. The painting monuments of Pharaoh Khafre reveal his resilient and intact stature, a clear indication of eternity (Shaw 210).
Comparison Between the Burial Practices of the Ancient Egyptian Old Kingdom and the Ancient Aegean Mycenaean Culture
The burial practices of the Ancient Egyptian Old Kingdom and the Ancient Aegean Mycenaean culture indicate some similarities since both believed in the afterlife. According to the Ancient Aegean Mycenaean culture, possessions such as jewelry and weapons were buried alongside the dead, an apparent indication of life after death (Shaw and Garry 170). The case is similar to the ancient Egyptian Old Kingdom whereby the pharaoh’s, for instance, Khafre was buried alongside his treasures signifying continuous living after death. In as much as the two cultures share certain similarities in the funerary practices, they practiced unique funerary practices. For instance, in Ancient Aegean Mycenaean culture, the bodies of the dead were not mummified as was the case of the Ancient Egyptian Kingdom.
The religious beliefs of death and the afterlife in Ancient Egypt depicted by the monuments reveal the sacredness of the Ka. Moreover, religion had a significant impact on the Ancient Egyptian burial practices, which possessed several similarities and differences with the Ancient Aegean Mycenaean culture.
Shaw, Garry. “A Matter of Life and Death: The Popular View of Ancient Egypt as a Culture Obsessed with Death Is Challenged by Two Exhibitions, Which Argue That Funerary Objects Were as Important in Daily Life as They Were in the Afterlife.”Apollo1 Feb. 2016: n. pag. Print.