May your table be eternally groaning under the weight of a great feast, like Hermeru's here.
Hermeru was an Overseer of the Guards, and Priest of King Unas' pyramid at Saqqara, during the reign of the Sixth Dynasty's Pepi I, some 25 years after Unas had begun his adventures in the hereafter. This was Egypt's Old Kingdom, ca. 2320 B.C., and Hermeru's job was to protect King Unas' pyramid from assault by tomb robbers and ensure that the king's spirit was honoured and well fed.
Here we see a finely-carved image from Hermeru's False Door, featuring the deceased seated and reaching towards a table piled high with bread loaves. Above the table, hieroglyphs ask for a perpetual supply of offerings so that Hermeru could eat, drink and be merry for eternity. The signs we see here represent a thousand examples of oryx and alabaster.
The ancient Egyptians believed that a successful afterlife was dependent on a never-ending flow of food and drink. The False Door provided a magical threshold through which the vital goodness of food offerings could be enjoyed.
Hermeru's tomb is just north of Unas' causeway at Saqqara. Photo: Jeffrey Ross Burzacott
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