The ancient Egyptians understood death to be just a moment in existence
and believed their bodies had needs in the afterlife that mirrored those we have
in life. To provide for the needs of the dead, Egyptians left gifts as offerings.
Placed on carved stone offering
tables in the tomb chapel or at the entrance of the tomb. These gifts included
bread, beer and wine, beef and fowl, cloth, incense, pomegranates, grapes,
flowers and other items from the abundance of the Nile.
However, the ancient Egyptians also believed that an image of an object or
even the written or spoken word for an offering carved on a tomb wall could
magically come to life to provide actual sustenance for the deceased. So carved
and painted, richly laden offering tables graced the walls of most tombs or
could be found on stelae in the tomb. Typical representations included a T-shaped
table in side view, piled with stacks of cone-shaped or circular loaves of
bread, vessels for wine and beer below, hanks of beef, dressed geese, bound
stalks of papyrus or lotus blossoms, and a market vendorís panoply of fruits,
vegetables, and sweets.