In Egyptian mythology, the ba is the soul, represented in art as a human-headed bird. As the winged, eternal part of a person, it provided an early inspiration for the image of the winged angel.

The Egyptians associated the ba with the ka, or the person's double, and the ib, or heart. The ba is invisible and does not permanently leave the body upon death, but remains with it in the tomb, sometimes coming out at night with a lamp to roam a bit and then returning to the tomb. The body must remain intact in order for the ba to return to it (hence the need to preserve the corpse by embalming). The ba is fed cakes and is cared for by the sycamore tree goddess.

The Egyptians left small openings in the pyramids so that the ba would have easy access. Small ledges inside were built for the ba to stand upon.

The ancient Egyptians also believed that the stars were ba, lit by their tomb lamps.

Ba (?), v. i. [Cf. OF. baer to open mouth, F. baer.]

To kiss.

[Obs.]

Chaucer.

 

© Webster 1913.

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