The 'false door': the entrance to the Egyptian underworld

The 'false door': the entrance to the Egyptian underworld


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A 'false door‘Is, as its name indicates, the imitation of a door normally found in the funerary temples and tombs of Ancient Egypt. These doors have the function of being a path between the world of the living and that of the dead.

Deities or the dead could interact with the world of the living by passing through the doors or could receive offerings through them.

The 'false door' is one of the most common common items found in Egyptian tombs, and it is one of the architectural innovations that has been discovered in royal and non-royal tombs of early Old Kingdom. The ‘false door’ was used for the first time in Las Mastabas, during the III dynasty of the Old Kingdom, and it became almost a universal element in the tombs of the following dynasties, (especially the IV and VI).

During the 150 years that the 6th dynasty lasted under the rule of the pharaohs Pepi I, Merenra and Pepi II, the 'false door' underwent some modifications, which has allowed historians to date the tombs based on the style of the 'doors false '. After the First Intermediate Period, the popularity of the 'false door' declined, being replaced by a stele as the main element for funeral inscriptions.

The 'false door' was not a copy of a real door but the combination of a niche and a stela with hieroglyphic inscriptions. They were placed to the west of the main room of the chapel, known as the offering room.

Usually a door was put in front of the door where food and drinks were offered for the deceased. The food that was offered to the dead could be real food or a stela with carved food, symbolically.

The tables were normally built of stone and were decorated with drawings of offerings such as bread, beer and oxen among otherswas decorated and marked with the names and titles of the owner of the tomb.

For the ancient Egyptians, these doors were seen as the connection to the underworld and played an important role in the culture of death. The 'false door' is one of the most beautiful elements of the tombs and many have survived in their essence and in their same place, although others have been removed and taken to different museums.


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