Some notes on the female ka-servant in the Old Kingdom
- Číslo 23 
PublisherUniverzita Karlova, Filozofická fakulta
SourcePrague Egyptological Studies, 2019, 23, 125-131
Source URLInformation unavailable
ka-servant, funerary cult, female priest, priesthood, Old Kingdom
The iconographic repertoire of the Old Kingdom tombs seems to show that the funerary cult during this period was developed by an important number of people that were able to hold a wide variety of titles. Among those, there is one that looms as particularly frequent: the Hm-kA. Usually known as the ka-servant or ka-priest, this title is almost omnipresent in Old Kingdom tombs. His main function was to satisfy the necessities of his deceased lord by providing his funerary cult with all kinds of offerings. However, in order to ensure the proper functioning of the cult and its supply, they also developed functions in the management of the properties allotted to its finance. The service of the ka was considered by ancient Egyptians as a communitarian system composed of several members, including women also. This circumstance makes the Hmt-kA one of the few female ritualists in the Old Kingdom. In this paper, I have aimed to shed light upon the position of the female ka-servants in relation to their male counterparts. By using both iconographic and textual sources, the paper aims at understanding what women’s means of access to the ka-servant office were, what responsibilities they held and what rights they enjoyed. The most limited occurrence of the Hmt-kA in the sources seems to reveal a preference for men above women, and an assistance role for the latter. Despite this situation, we also find evidence of females reaching powerful positions inside the hierarchical structure of the ka-service, consequently one can suggest that, once inside the institution, women had similar rights to those of men.