In his latest lesson on hieroglyphs, Fefi reveals the secret of eternal life—the ancient Egyptian way.
There is a very good reason I had my name and nickname written on my false door: each time my name is remembered and repeated, I live on in the memory of those who speak it. That's how I still live on more than 4,000 years after my death: you know my name and my nickname. That's eternal life, ancient Egyptian style. To the left are the glyphs that spell out my nickname.
Fefi's nickname encircled in red; Egyptian, False Door of Ni-ankh-Snefru (Called Fefi), circa 2321–2278 B.C.E., white limestone with traces of paint, H. 63 1/2 x W. 44 1/2 x D. 4 1/2 in., Purchased with funds from the North Carolina State Art Society (Robert F. Phifer Bequest) and funds from the bequest of Elsie M. Kramer, the bequest of W. R. Valentiner, and Mrs. William Gage Brady, by exchange
Many of my friends in the Egyptian galleries have their names written on objects that belonged to them for that same reason. Not all the names were carved in stone, like mine or my buddy Khnumti's. Some were written in ink with a reed pen and may look different or harder to read. Different scribes have different handwriting and, clearly, some have better penmanship than others! In my next post, I will help you read the names of the other folk in the Egyptian galleries, so that they, too, can continue to live on because you know their names.
Names were magical and powerful, an important part of each human being. Back in the day, visitors to a tomb were encouraged to speak our names to help us live forever; now you can do the same when you visit the Museum.
Fefi was the overseer of the pyramid complex of King Pepy I at Saqqara; he was also a lector priest, nobleman, and scribe. With plenty of free time in his afterlife, Fefi blogs about hieroglyphs in the NCMA's Egyptian collection.