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Priests

Priest, Menna tomb; 
CMC PCD 2001-280-067 Priests worked at the temples, conducting the daily rituals of clothing, feeding and putting to bed the sculpted images that represented the the deities to whom the temples were dedicated. The innermost sanctuary of the temple was regarded as the bedroom of the god or goddess, where his or her domestic needs were taken care of. In mortuary temples, priests conducted similar ceremonies to nourish the ka (soul-spirit) of a deceased pharaoh or noble. The priests shaved their heads and body hair, and washed their bodies twice daily as a ritual act of purification. They wore gowns or kilts of pure white linen.

The higher-ranking priests were called the first servants of the god. Lower-ranking ones performed various duties, such as studying and writing hieroglyph texts, teaching new recruits and performing many of the routine duties associated with the temple.

Temple music and dancing; 
Papyrus painting, modern; 
CMC S98 3532; 
PCD 2001-283-031

Sacred music and dancing were an important part of the rituals and celebrations conducted by priests and priestesses. A common title for many women in the 18th dynasty (New Kingdom) was "singer [in the temple] of Amun". Many high-status New Kingdom women held the position of "chantress" to a local god.



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