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The Funerary Chapel of Ka(i)pura

Saqqara, Egypt

 page updated December26, 2007

he following images are excerpted from an audiovisual museum presentation developed by LEARNING SITES for the traveling exhibit: Searching for Ancient Egypt: art, architecture, and artifacts from the University of Pennsylvania Museum of Archaeology and Anthropology.  The exhibit contained 138 objects from the museum's pre-eminent collection of Egyptian art.  Among the objects traveling were the carved and inscribed false door and west wall from the Funerary Chapel of Ka(i)pura (a 5th or 6th Dynasty official of the Old Kingdom).  LEARNING SITES created a 3D model of the interior and exterior of the chapel and its context within the necropolis of Saqqara in preparation for a flyover and flythrough of the chapel, with accompanying narration and specially created digital music, all designed to complement the sections of the chapel on display.

"The carved and painted decoration in the chapel appears to focus on two large seated figures of Ka(i)pura before a table, one on the west wall [to the right in the image below] and one on the south wall [straight ahead in the image below]; a standing figure of him occurs on the east wall.  In each case, several horizontal rows depict offerings and bearers that would provide the many necessities that Ka(i)pura required for his afterlife...."1
Funerary Chapel of Ka(i)pura, entry view
View (from the LEARNING SITES 3D computer model) looking into the Chapel toward the south wall and serdab, with the false door on the far right.

"The focus of the chapel room is the false door, located on the west wall. The door represented the place where offerings would be made for the deceased. It was also the site where the spirit, which in theory could come up from the burial chamber and proceed forth from the inner niche, would take its sustenance. Several representations of Ka(i)pura, both standing and sitting, appear on the false door; texts are also carved on the architrave, lintel, and jambs. The inscriptions for the most part take the form of offering formulas that list funerary requests on behalf of the deceased. They also record Ka(i)pura's name and his many titles. Among these designations are several that center on the treasury: the overseer of the treasury, the overseer of the treasury of the residence, the undersupervisor of the treasury, and the inspector of the scribes of the treasury. Ka(i)pura also had offices associated with the royal linen and adornments. These titles and others indicate that he was a fairly high-ranking official...."1

Funerary Chapel of Ka(i)pura--detail of False Door and offerings

Detail view (from the LEARNING SITES 3D computer model) of the bottom of the false door, on the west wall, and offerings. 

 The exhibition made the following stops:
The information contained in these images is in no way to be construed as an interim or final publication of the material.  Data and images are not to be copied, retransmitted, or altered in any way without written permission from Learning Sites, Inc.; Dr. David P. Silverman, Curator-in-Charge, Egyptian Section, University of Pennsylvania Museum of Archaeology and Anthropology; and Debra Wittrup, Head of Exhibitions and Managing Editor, Dallas Museum of Art.
1 Text excerpted from the exhibition catalogue Searching for Ancient Egypt: art, architecture, and artifacts, edited by David P. Silverman, copyright Dallas Museum of Art, 1997, pages 170-174.

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page created: January 6, 1998
page updated: December 26, 2007
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