The chapel for the practice of the funerary cult was a structure erected above ground where priests or the relatives of the tomb owner might regularly perform an offering ritual for his benefit, providing him with everything necessary for continued existence in the hereafter. On the walls of the chapel there were depictions of such rituals and the texts accompanying their performance. Ka-ni-nisut’s chapel was discovered during the Austrian excavations in 1913; the following year it was purchased for the museum. Due to the First World War its initial installation in Gallery VIa of the Egyptian and Near Eastern Collection was delayed until 1925. In 2001, in the course of a general re-vamping of the galleries, the cult chamber was disassembled and then rebuilt here. Ka-ni-nisut was a high-ranking official of the state. His tomb documents his important social status and his wealth. The reliefs of the chapel show him with his family and the scribes of his household. There are also scenes illustrating the offering ritual for the deceased, the butchering of animals, and offering bearers, as well as boats in which the tomb owner might travel to the realm of the dead. The funerary offering ritual was performed in front of the false door niche – the principal cult place in the tomb. The false door connected the here-and-now with the hereafter and enabled the deceased to partake of offerings presented in the course of the ritual.
early 5th Dynasty, ca. 2500 BC
L (Opferraum) 370 cm, B (Opferraum) 150 cm
Kunsthistorisches Museum Wien, Ägyptisch - Orientalische Sammlung
Ägyptische Sammlung, INV 8006
1913, excavated by the Academy of Sciences, Vienna
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