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By Watts, E. and Girsh, B. and Metropolitan Museum of Art (New York, N.Y.) and Metropolitan Museum of Art Staff

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For instance, after hemet (wife) there is the figure of a seated woman. Since hieroglyphs represent only the consonant sounds, determinatives served to differentiate between words that have the same consonants but different vowels. Determinatives are not pronounced. 47 48 In order to write well, Egyptian scribes needed to know some seven hundred hieroglyphs and to be able to draw them clearly. In documents on papyrus, which are usually written in a cursive script, the scribe wrote from right to left.

Scarab To protect it from harm, and to aid in the daily transferal of new life to the ba, the mummy was surrounded by magic spells, amulets such as scarabs, and representations of protective deities (slides 13, 17, 25, 28, 32, 38, and poster). To help the ba in its hazardous journey through the night to rebirth at dawn, rituals and magic spells were inscribed on the walls of the burial chamber, sarcophagus, and coffins. Beginning in the New Kingdom such texts were also placed on papyrus scrolls buried with the deceased, known as the Book of the Dead.

Line drawing after a stone relief from the chapel of Nikahor in the Metropolitan Museum’s collection (acc. no. 2). IV. The Visual Materials The Metropolitan Museum’s Collection of Egyptian Art The Metropolitan Museum of Art has one of the finest collections of Egyptian art in the world. A great part of the thirty-six thousand objects in the collection was excavated in Egypt by the Museum’s staff of archaeologists from 1906 to 1936. During the early decades of the twentieth century, the Egyptian government permitted foreign archaeologists to dig in their country with the following generous proviso: at the end of each excavation season there was a division of finds, half staying in Egypt and half going to the institution that had undertaken the excavation.

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