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Ancient Life: Sustaining Ka
The Longest Journey
Balancing a wicker basket on her head, this 4,000-year-old wooden statue of a female offering bearer was discovered at Thebes, Egypt, in the tomb of a man named Meketra, an official of the 11th Dynasty (2134-2040 B.C.).
The 4-foot-high, vividly painted statue was one of 25 similar wooden carvings recovered from the tomb. Our maiden carries four wine jars topped with conical lids and a live goose—sustenance for Meketra in the afterlife.
During the early Egyptian dynasties, only deceased pharaohs and their intimates were thought to live on in the next world. Their bodies were mummified and their tombs lavishly furnished with real and symbolic weapons, food, jewelry, toiletries, games and furniture. By the time of Meketra, however, lesser nobles assumed that they were eligible to enter the afterlife.

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