In Ancient Egypt groups of common mourners walked during funerary processions making many gestures of lament: raising arms, beating their arms…One of the most typical gestures of these mourners was to pull from their lock of hair.
We can watch this typical mourning movement in two dimensional depictions, as for instance the mastaba of Mereruka (Saqqara) or the tomb of Ramses IX (KV6).
The religious texts of Ancient Egypt mention the fact of pulling from the lock of hair with the locution nwn m.
We usually considered this gesture as “pulling the front lock of hair”, due to the act that the artists of Ancient Egypt depicted the mourners always pulling from a lock of hair that hanged from their front.
However, there is an exception. The wooden anthropoid coffin of Amenemipet, from the XXI Dynasty, presents in its outer decoration a group of common mourners crying, bending their bodies, raising their arms… It is interesting to notice how the artist of Ancient Egypt introduced here the frontal perspective for depicting one mourner in the center of the group, so she raises her two arms at each side.
At left of the image in a smaller scale a mourning woman pulls with both hands not from a front lock of hair, but from a lateral lock of hair.
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