Global Humanities Junior Fellow at Freie Universitaet Berlin
July - December 2014
Sufficient, More Than Sufficient: One Aspect of Ancient Egyptian’s Idea of Wealth
In general, this paper consists of three parts. A brief introduction including literature review and the purpose of my study is firstly expounded. The basic resources and approaches are also included in this part. In the second part, written records from administrative and diplomatic documents to religious texts and literary works will be discussed and interpreted. The differences due to the distinction of the purpose, content, genre and literary technique of the records will be paid especial attention to. By carefully analyzing the materials, the paper intends to discover the relationship of quantity and quality in Egyptians’ view towards wealth in the conclusive part.
The conclusion is expected to reveal the two faces of sufficiency. Being wealthy is first related to the idea of possessing large quantity of material goods; while sufficiency is related to stability and requires the support of reserves. Both artistic and non-artistic written materials show that people from the pharaoh to the civilians cared about the accumulations of goods, no matter at the domestic level or in the private sphere. On the other hand, sufficient is not sufficient. The fortune’s turn to be wealth requires special quality like virtues, quality of life, identity, status and being in the favor of the pharaoh and the deities.
Dongni Xu holds Master degrees in Christian Studies and Theology from the Chinese University of Hong Kong, where she is currently studying World History (MPhil). She completed her Bachelor’s Degree in Archaeology at Nanjing University, in 2010. From 2008 on, she has participated in several archeological excavations (e.g. at Qingdun Site, Suqian, Jiangsu Province, China; and Daping Site, Yunxian, Hubei Province, China).