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Pesesh-kef (Ritual Implement)

Egyptian, Classical, Ancient Near Eastern Art

This instrument was touched to the mummy’s mouth during the ritual called the “Opening of the Mouth.” The ritual ensured that the deceased became fully alive in the tomb and in the afterlife. This example, from Egyptian prehistory, is similar to those used for thousands of years during Egyptian funerals.
MEDIUM Obsidian
  • Reportedly From: Akhmim, Egypt
  • DATES ca. 3300–3100 B.C.E.
    PERIOD Predynastic Period, Naqada III Period
    DIMENSIONS 3 1/2 x 1/4 x 6 1/2 in. (8.9 x 0.6 x 16.5 cm)  (show scale)
    CREDIT LINE Charles Edwin Wilbour Fund
    CATALOGUE DESCRIPTION Black obsidian instrument, either a forked lance or a peseshkef – wand. Edges finely serrated. Probably a ceremonial object. Condition: Broken and assembled from two pieces. Each side of base and top chipped. Probably ritual breakage.
    MUSEUM LOCATION This item is not on view
    CAPTION Pesesh-kef (Ritual Implement), ca. 3300–3100 B.C.E. Obsidian, 3 1/2 x 1/4 x 6 1/2 in. (8.9 x 0.6 x 16.5 cm). Brooklyn Museum, Charles Edwin Wilbour Fund, 35.1445. Creative Commons-BY (Photo: Brooklyn Museum, 35.1445_front_PS2.jpg)
    IMAGE front, 35.1445_front_PS2.jpg. Brooklyn Museum photograph, 2006
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    RIGHTS STATEMENT Creative Commons-BY
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