Sunday, June 25, 2017

The Sacred Sistrum of Ancient Egypt

In Khamsin, The Devil Wind of The Nile, this ancient instrument is described as being used for worship as well as entertainment.

With expectant stillness at its height, [the High Priest of Ptah] intoned the old sacred chants, his rich baritone echoed by the pure high voices of his temple chantresses. The simple notes of a lonely flute rang out, a harp adding its melodic strings.

Sistrum-players rattled their papyrus stems. The beat quickened. With nothing more than belts around slim waists, the undulating chantresses mesmerized the crowd; it often fell to these lithe servants of the gods to keep the beer-drowsed audience alert.