Articles and Conference Objects

Middle Kingdom Clappers, Dancers, Birth Magic, and the Reinvention of Ritual

Morris, Ellen F.

This essay examines the archaeological contexts of late Old Kingdom and Middle Kingdom hand-shaped clappers and argues three main points. First, the sites with the greatest concentration of clappers were those located near mortuary temples. Given that clappers were frequently found with female figurines and mirrors, they may have been utilized in mortuary temples by Hathoric performers who danced for the dead king as Re. Second, clappers were an integral part of birth magic and are frequently found in the company of two and three dimensional male and female lion-headed daemons and other protectors (sꜢw) of the sun god and of those about to be born or reborn. Finally, it is argued that, like many Middle Kingdom grave goods, clappers had been ‘rediscovered’ and religiously re-envisioned by sacral authorities who encountered Protodynastic and Early Dynastic votive material during temple renovations and perhaps also during work at the pilgrimage site of Umm el-Qa’ab.

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Also Published In

Company of Images: Modelling the Imaginary World of Middle Kingdom Egypt (2000-1500 BC)
Peeters Publishers

More About This Work

Academic Units
Classics and Ancient Studies (Barnard College)
Peeters Publishers
Published Here
June 18, 2018