Tomb of Idy

Calcite figures of two men on stepped red plynths. Tomb of Idy.
Calcite figures of two men on stepped red plynths. Tomb of Idy.
British Museum. EA2312
Heka, the god of magic & medicine.
Heka, the god of magic & medicine.

Idy was an Egyptian man who lived and died within the 6th Dynasty of Ancient Egypt’s Old Kingdom, c. 2345-2181 B.C. He was a nomarch (provincial governor of the varied nomes of Egypt, similar to a local administrator or perhaps a modern local councillor or possibly mayor type figure). He held titles such as Royal Treasurer and was also a Lector Priest.

Lector Priest: “The carrier of the Book of Ritual”

A Lector Priest ẖrj-ḥꜣb (kheri-hab); translation: “The carrier of the Book of Ritual“, was essentially a reciter of spiritual importance. During rituals of varied types (festivals, temple, funerary, protective, etc.), the Lector Priest would recite the sacred prayers and spells. Such a man would hold respectable and admired nobility within his community, as he would be vastly educated in the spiritual aspect of Egyptian life and afterlife, and even perform rituals of magical (heka: ḥkꜣ(w) ) and help with matters of spiritual importance.

Abydos is where Idy’s 6th Dynasty tomb was found. Within the tomb were magnificent items that were related to his role as Lector Priest, such as various peices of ritual equipment.

Including…

☥ an eight columned funerary tablet made from limestone, which was used for the Opening of the Mouth ceremony with seven oil wells.

Tablet for seven oils. British Museum. EA6123
Tablet for seven oils. British Museum. EA6123

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.

☥ … various vessels and funerary tools, such as the peseshkef. A peseshkef was a knife used within the Opening of the Mouth ceremony, a funerary ritual that was to induce life into the spirit of the deceased. It is thought the peseshkef was placed upon the deceased’s body in order to spiritually reanimate the mummified remains before the final entombment.

Various vessels and funerary tools, such as the peseshkef. A peseshkef was knife used within the Opening of the Mouth ceremony. British Musuem. EA6123
British Musuem. EA6123

☥ a pink limestone peseshkef surrounded by various vessels made of rock crystal and obsidian, encased within limestone.

Pink limestone peseshkef surrounded by various vessels made of rock crystal and obsidian, encased within limestone. British Museum. EA5526
British Museum. EA5526

☥ a beautiful green schist bowl engraved with hieroglyphs.

a beautiful green schist bowl engraved with hieroglyphs. British Museum. EA4697
British Museum. EA4697
a beautiful green schist bowl engraved with hieroglyphs. British Museum. EA4697
British Museum. EA4697

And rather amazingly…

☥ a copper model of an altar with funerary equipment.

British Museum. EA5315

All of these items were found within the 6th Dynasty Tomb of Idy, Abydos, and now are under the care of the British Museum.