Offering Tables as Ritual Landscapes

An Anthropological Perspective of Ancient Egyptian Materia Magicae

  • Esmeralda Lundius (Author)

Identifiers (Article)


Offering tables have been neglected in the study of ancient Egyptian funerary ritual and have

not been adequately handled as cultic/ritual artefacts placed within a mortuary landscape. This

paper will apply theoretical approaches regarding the use, context and ritual significance of mortu-

ary ritual artefacts to the analysis of offering tables in order to illustrate the difficulties in under-

standing such artefacts and identifying viable approaches to defining ancient Egyptian magical

practice. It is proposed that offering tables or platters from Old and Middle Kingdom Egypt

(ca.2600-1750 BCE) may reflect architectural and topographic features in their design, revealing

essential information regarding their ritual use and context. Several such objects display, in

miniature, entire canal systems thus indicating the life-giving forces that such irrigation systems

transmitted to fields and pools from the inundating Nile water. The offering objects may there-

fore be ritual landscapes themselves, used as ritual theatres for activating the ka.