Why Did the Dead Need Material Goods and Mummification?
Some of the cat-shaped statues were actually elaborate coffins designed to hold mummified cats. Cat cemeteries filled with these mummies have been found throughout Egypt, for example at Bubastis, Saqqara, Thebes, and Beni Hasan. In apparent contrast to the prohibition against killing cats, it does not appear that these mummified cats were old house pets, preserved after their natural deaths. Modern x-ray evidence shows cats were deliberately killed, often while still quite young, suggesting that the cats were bred specifically for this purpose. At least in part, these practices seem to have been encouraged by Egyptian rulers for economic reasons. The ‘sacred animal industry’, supplied considerable employment and also provided tax income to the Pharaohs. That is a lot of information on Egyptian mummification and how it was started to how they perfected it. It is amazing how they did the mummification and how it was for religious purposes. so mummification wasn’t just for the pharaohs, it was also for the religious class, then began expanding to the social classes. Mummification also helped with economics and improved the technology in the tools they used for mummification. Also animals were used in Ancient Egyptian religious art to illustrate characteristics of the gods. However, the Egyptians did not worship animals and the depictions were not literal. For example, Horus was depicted as a falcon because he was believed to have falcon-like qualities, not because he was thought to be a bird and the goddess Bastet, linked to childrearing, was often represented as a cat.
The mummy would be enclosed in the sarcophagus or coffin, which would be buried in a grave or laid to rest in a tomb along with the grave goods, and the funeral would conclude. The living would then go back to their business, and the dead were then believed to go on to eternal life.
Although the Egyptians are not the only people to have attempted the artificial preservation of the corpse, they are the only people to have held this specific religious belief. The heart, rather than the brain, was regarded as the organ of reasoning. As such it would be required in the afterlife, when it would testify to the goodness of the deceased. It was therefore left in place within the body and, if accidentally removed, immediately sewn back.
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Strudwick, H. The Encyclopedia of Ancient Egypt. Metro Books, 2006.