Nika Lavrentyeva and Ekaterina Alexandrova, The Pushkin State Museum of Fine Arts
Liminal sources of dangerous powers: a case of the Black Ram A comparative analysis of demonological representations in the Pyramid Texts and the Coffin Texts displays verbal and visual sign-systems, which complement each other.
The CT captures a developed system of ideas about the dangerous inhabitants of the Netherworld manifested mainly in their names and iconography. An essential contact with chaos and border between chaos and cosmos has a decisive influence on the nature and behavior of demons of the CT. This connection is distinctly reflected in the image of the two roads of the Book of Two Ways and their dangerous environment of fire and water represented by the guards. In the PT such depictions are quite rare but it is intriguing that a Pharaoh himself could be regarded as a dangerous inhabitant of the Netherworld, threatening the cosmic order. The source of his destructive power is also the liminal state, in this case expressed as damage to the Eye.
An example of the intersection of these two “demonic systems” is the image of the “Lord-of-Power” represented in both PT and CT. On the vignettes of the Book of Two Ways he is shown in the form of a Black Ram in the “chamber of judges”. The situation of a trial when the deceased claims a place in the Netherworld and the gods satisfy this demand apparently is one of the ways to appease the dangerous energy. Thus in the PT Pharaoh threatens to destroy the existing cosmos by the power of his damaged Eye if he is not granted a place in another world. The successful integration of the deceased in the Netherworld is, therefore, a mean to appease him and to restore the cosmic balance.