The Breath of Life
December 13, 2013

Ink pen and colored pencil on acid free paper, 17.8 x 25.3 cm (7 x 10 in.),
Model is a detail of Ramesses II given life by the goddess Nekhbet, at the Louvre

I've often imagined this life-giving scene as I inhale deeply, taking in the gift of life from the god Set. There are many scenes of the pharaoh being blessed by both Horus and Set, one example here:

Set Gives Life to Horus

The larger scene from which that tiny crop is derived is from the New Kingdom, likely from the reign of Thutmose I.

Recently I discovered a Middle Kingdom text in which the subject calls to Set, 'great of awe' to give him air:

From Coffin Text 407, Spell for the 7 knots of Mehet-Weret:

"O Seth who is in his peaking moment, great longhorned ox who is in
the middle of the northern sky,
Give me air in the middle of the wtnw-flood, the resting place of Mehet-Weret!
O you who are loud of voice,
and great of awe,
who sits in the middle of darkness,
give me air in the middle of the wtnw-flood,
the resting place of Mehet-Weret.

From Breathing Flesh: Conceptions of the Body in the Ancient Egyptian Coffin Texts,
by Rune Nyord, pages 313 and 314, page 315 not available via Google book search.

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