The rise of the human-headed bird
Given its importance, the concept of the ba has always been studied in Egyptology. Nevertheless, the iconography of the ba and its visual absence throughout the Old and Middle Kingdoms, as well as the seemingly random occurrence of it at the beginning of the New Kingdom, has never been fully explained. Clarifying how it was represented throughout the Old and Middle Kingdoms still appears problematic, although notable signs exist about the origins of human-headed bird iconography. The frequency with which the ba appears in wall paintings and reliefs, stelae, small sculptures, and papyrus vignettes (and more) is undoubtedly remarkable and worthy of detailed classification and study, which is the principal intent of this research. In other words, identifying, analysing, and cataloguing, as much as possible, all the applications of the ba-bird iconography in New Kingdom funerary art. Classification of examples and description of the first part of its ‚official‘ iconographical history is also intended to serve as a tool for investigating the origins of the image itself, as well as analysing its development over time.