Eastern tradition

Vedic and Buddhist rituals

A complex of late Vedic and Buddhist rituals involved the anointing of government officials, worshipers, or statues and images of deities, in a rite called Abhisheka. Abhishekionians had believed that the virtues of one killed could be transferred to survivors if the latter rubbed themselves with his caul-fat. Other rites are associated with eating a victim whose virtues are coveted. So the Arabs of East Africa anoint themselves with lion's fat in order to gain courage and inspire fear in other animals. Human fat is likewise a powerful charm. , after the blood, fat was peculiarly the vehicle and seat of life. This is why fat of a victim was smeared on a sacred stone, not only in homage but in consecration. The influence of the deity, communicated to the victim, passed with the unguent into the stone. Thus such divinity could, by anointing, be transferred into men as well. In several temple reliefs in Ancient Egypt the Pharaoh is depicted being anointed by Horus (sun god and "father" of Pharaoh) and Thoth (god of wisdom), the oil of which is symbolically depicted as a stream of ankhs (symbols of life). Also, especially from the New Kingdom onward, anointing is often depicted in intimate scenes between husband and wife, where the wife is shown anointing her spouse, as a sign of affection. The most famous example of this is on the throne of Tutankhamun.

Pharaonic Egypt

Most famously in Pharaonic Egypt—along with many other ancient cultures—preparation for burial included anointing human remains with sweet-smelling oils in devotion as well with the practical intent of obscuring the stench of death.[3] In sealing a coffin a ritual, final anointing of the mummy was observed.

Timothy Tuck
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Last modified on Saturday, 22 July 2017 06:13
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