Barche sacre
Barca solare del faraone Cheope

Per gli antichi egizi il Nilo era la via principale di comunicazione e nel battello vedevano il mezzo di trasporto privilegiato, quindi la barca non poteva non rientrare nell’ambito del sacro e del divino.

Infatti, in Egitto il tradizionale carro solare era una barca.

Di giorno sulla barca Meandjet il sole percorreva il cielo, mentre di notte per solcare il cielo inferiore usava la barca Mesketet.
I sovrani della V dinastia, fecero costruire delle enormi navi in pietra che rappresentavano la barca del Sole sulla terra.

Tutte le divinità a carattere solare, ed in particolare il dio Amon-Ra, possedevano la loro barca di legno, che solitamente veniva collocata in una sala nella parte più nascosta del loro santuario.

Durante le processioni, la statua del dio veniva portata a spalla dai sacerdoti, per ricordare il viaggio di Ra nella sua navigazione celeste.
Il “destino solare” del faraone, prevedeva che andasse a raggiungere il Sole a bordo della sua barca.

Quando il credo funerario si estese a tutti gli uomini, si iniziò a pensare che l’anima di ogni defunto potesse percorrere il mondo notturno nella barca solare e offrirle aiuto in quella traversata pericolosa, durante la quale si sarebbe potuta imbattere in banchi di sabbia o in creature mostruose come il serpente Aphophis che aveva preso il posto del coccodrillo, terrore del fiume.

Forse fu proprio per questo, che gli Egiziani seppellirono presso le piramidi delle grandi barche o ne sistemarono all’interno dei modelli in scala.

Non è escluso che la barca funeraria potesse rappresentare l’imbarcazione consacrata a Osiride.

Ad Abido si vede il defunto che naviga verso la città per raggiungere il dio:
“Possa egli approdare tranquillo al bell’Occidente!
Che la montagna si apra dinanzi a lui e il deserto dell’Ovest gli tenda la mano …
Che li si prenda la mano e lo si conduca sulla barca Neshmet sulle strada dell’Occidente e che egli vada in pace ad Abido,nel luogo in cui si trova Osiride”.

Barche funerarie
Questo tipo di barca era usata per trasportare una sorta di catafalco, un palco adorno di drappi che sosteneva il sarcofago contenente la mummia del defunto, fino alla necropoli.

Barche lunari
Anche la luna navigava per il cielo sopra un’imbarcazione.

Barche processionali
Le barche processionali erano impiegate per il trasporto di una statua delle divinità dal santuario principale ai vari luoghi di culto, durante le feste annuali.

Barca solare di Cheope

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