Variable of the Day, Ancient Egypt: Cloth offering

egyptian art abydos seti offering cloth amun

Temple of Seti I at Abydos

NOTE: Cloth offerings were presented as part of the Daily Cultic Ritual sequence.  Texts often describe the king as ‘dressing’ the image of the deity with these textiles.  Fabrics of different colors were featured, including white, green, and red, all of which were associated with aspects of divine rejuvenation and radiance.  White cloth is referred to in the texts as being connected with the bright Eye of Horus; green is related to freshness and rejuvenation; and red is associated with the fiery Eye of Re, the “Great One, Lady of rage.”  In the database, the forms of these cloths–whether looped (as in two of the above examples), grouped on trays, or straight bolts (like the third)–are tracked in addition to their color.

For more on the symbolic significance of these cloths in the Daily Ritual, see K. Goebs, “King as God and God as King,” in Palace and Temple, R. Gundlach and K. Spence (eds.), 2011, esp. pages 65-70, 76, 77, and 79.

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The Art of Counting is dedicated to the memory of Margery Meilleur, who first taught me to view history through the eyes of the images we create.