Ancient Egypt iconography is usually clear and understandable. Some other times, although the scenes are explicit, the sense of the image it is not so clear. That happens especially with religious images accompanying sacred texts from XIX Dynasty. That is the case of the resurrection scene from the tomb of Ramses IX belonging to the Book of the Caverns, in which four women pull their front lock of hair towards the mummy.
We know that this was a gesture made by mourners as one of the practices for helping in the dead’s restoration. But we also know tha these mourners making that were the two representatives of Isis and Nephtys.
The scene from the tomb of Ramses IX shows four women instead of two. Now the question is why?
Looking for more exmaples the only similar scene we found is an image from the temple of Osiris in Abydos. Here four women appear in a sorrow position with a front lock of hair falling forwards. Although they are not pulling the hair, it is clear the realtionship of it with the Osiris resurrection. But the inportant point here is that they are four and not two.
In the Egyptian Book of the Caverns from the tomb of Ramses IX, these four women are named as “...the Goddesses who mourn together in the secret place of Osiris…“. So, it would not be crazy to think about these four female figures in the temple of Osiris in Abydos, also as women with a divine nature.
We will see in the next post.
Interesting article !
Thanks a lot! I also hope it is useful!!! Next week something more about it!!!
That’s very interesting…
My take with just this information is..
Ramses IX could have been trying to portray himself as Osiris.. using four mourners
I don’t think one is Neith as She is quite an older Goddess not so celebrated in this time
…a possible choice is Sekhemet and Bastet as Sekhnet was the west and Baster, the east..death and life…
The mourners are Isis and Nephtys because they are the ones who resurrected Osiris..
The theme is resurrection..that the cries of the Goddess echo the cries for Osiris
…for resurrection you may need the Goddesses of life and death
Hi Heidi, Thank you very much for your message. Your theory is also vey interesting, because it involves the four cardinal points. and why not? the problem is that I have not found any constant allusion to Sekhmet and Bastet (I mean realted to Isis and Nephthys and the dead’s resurrection), and with Neith and Selket yes (in coffins, texts, ushebtis boxes…).
About the connection with Neith you have more information here:
and about Selket here: https://hairanddeathinancientegypt.com/2014/08/14/the-ancient-egyptian-goddess-serket-helped-the-dead-breathe/
Please, let me know what you think.
All the best