Tablet of Seven Oils

This tablet for the seven sacred oils was discovered in the burial chamber of Ankhhaf. The names of the oils used in the ceremonies for the dead are inscribed in black ink. Small shallow depressions for the oils were also found. The name and titles of the owner are engraved upon the tablet.

During royal funerals, it was a rule to include in the offerings a complete set of the seven ritual oils. They were meant to be a testimony to the sacralization acts performed when the deceased was put in his coffin, and to protect the dead on their eternal journey.

Tablet of Seven Oils
Tablet of Seven Oils

Oil tablet engraved with the names of the seven sacred oils used for embalming and religious rites. The depressions on the tablet were meant to hold a drop of each of the oils.

“There is more detailed evidence for the use of cosmetics in Egypt than anywhere else in the ancient world. The use of cosmetics is well attested from the earliest times in the Predynastic Period, and cosmetics were particularly important to the Egyptians for practical purposes as well as for beautification.

Since bathing was probably practiced in Egypt more than in some other cultures, and the hot climate was harsh, there was more necessity for the use of oils and ointments to counter the effects of heat, dust, and the consequent dryness.”

The Material World of Ancient Egypt, by William H. Peck (#aff)

Another tablet of seven oils dates to the 6th Dynasty can be found in the MFA, Boston. (31.796).

Old Kingdom, 4th Dynasty, ca. 2613-2494 BC. Alabaster, from Giza necropolis. Now in the Egyptian Museum, Cairo. JE 72303