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Acting Exercises > Historical Reconstruction > Egyptian Temple Ritual

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For more context on these clips, see Egyptian Temple Ritual in Real and Virtual Space by Dr. Robyn Gillam, Classical and Religious Studies, York University

EGYPTIAN TEMPLE RITUAL
Officating Priest Officiating Priest — Clip 1 — Blue Screen Version
[ 3 min. 45 sec. ]


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Officating Priest Officiating Priest — Clip 1 — Merged Version
[ 3 min. 45 sec. ]


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Officating Priest Officiating Priest — Clip 2 — Blue Screen Version
[ 4 min. 30 sec. ]


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Officating Priest Officiating Priest — Clip 2 — Merged Version
[ 4 min. 30 sec. ]


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Choir Choir — Blue Screen Version
[ 56 sec. ]


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Choir Choir — Merged Version
[ 59 sec. ]


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The activity documented here was produced by the students in Winter 2005. It represents The Festival of the Lifting of the Sky from the temple at Esna in southern Egypt, one of the latest of such texts, dating from the early to mid 2nd century C.E. The festival celebrated the power of the god Khnum who created the world on his potters' wheel with performances celebrating both female and male creativity. Central to this, as all other festivals, was the daily ritual in the sanctuary of the temple where the priests awoke the spirit of the god at sunrise. The spirit of the god then descended into the cult statue that reposed in a shrine in the sanctuary, which was taken out, censed, washed, fed and clothed. The offerings then reverted to the priests and other temple workers who consumed them. This daily service was accompanied by hymns sung by a choir at the door of the sanctuary.

The experimental scenes — videotaped and edited and inserted in the VR background by Peter Babiak — show the officiating priest (reader of the sacred text, and, hence, wearer of the ostrich feather and clothed in archaic garb) kneeling on the stairway leading into the sanctuary and before the shrine in the sanctuary to present offerings to the god. We also see the male and female choir dressed in contemporary costume standing at the door of the sanctuary singing hymns of praise to the god accompanying themselves with the beating of sacred rattles (sistra) and necklaces (menats).

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