"Opening of the Mouth" vessel of Perneb
- Old Kingdom
- Dynasty 5
- reign of Isesi–Unis
- ca. 2381–2323 B.C.
- From Egypt, Memphite Region, Saqqara, Tomb of Perneb, MMA excavations, 1913–14
- Travertine (Egyptian alabaster)
- H: 8.4 cm (3 5/16 in.)
- Credit Line:
- Gift of Edward S. Harkness, 1914
- Accession Number:
An essential rite performed during the funeral ceremonies was the "Opening of the Mouth." Thought to have evoked the rituals carried out at the birth of a child, this served to restore the senses of the newly deceased (resident in spirit within the mummified body or a statue), so that he or she could once again breathe, speak, eat, drink, see, and hear.
This vessel is part of a set used for this ceremony. It would have held milk, or salt or fresh water (see also 14.7.92; 14.7.93; and 14.7.94).
For a complete set of implements for this ritual, see 07.228.117a-h.
From Saqqara, purchased from the Egyptian government, 1914.
Lythgoe, Albert M. and Caroline Ransom 1916. The Tomb of Perneb. New York: The Metropolitan Museum of Art, p. 33, fig. 22.
Hayes, William C. 1953. Scepter of Egypt I: A Background for the Study of the Egyptian Antiquities in The Metropolitan Museum of Art: From the Earliest Times to the End of the Middle Kingdom. Cambridge, Mass.: The Metropolitan Museum of Art, p. 118.