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Bulls, Hair and the teknu: An Enigmatic Egyptian Custom Revisited (Burial of the Black Hairs)
By G. J. Tassie
Institute of Archaeology, UCL
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Continuing the examination of the use of hair in ancient Egyptian rituals‚ a particular rite within the funerary rituals‚ that of the teknu‚ is examined using multi-dimensional analysis of the iconographic‚ textual‚ mortuary‚ and ethnographic data sets. The tomb-scenes of Mentuherkhepeshef offer an unusual view of the rites of the teknu‚ and are extensively used to help construct this enigmatic ritual. Although this rite is mainly known from XVIIIth Dynasty nobles tombs‚ its origins can be traced back to the emergence of state and Egypt's pastoralist beliefs that first developed in the Neolithic and Predynastic periods. The inclusion of an effigy in the foetal burial position in the funerary rituals‚ the teknu‚ appears to be related to the changing burial practices that occurred throughout the Early Dynastic and Old Kingdom‚ and seem to have been used in the evolving ideological unification of the Two Lands.