1911 Encyclopædia Britannica/Mastaba

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MASTABA (Arab. for “bench”), in Egyptian architecture, the term given to the rectangular tombs in stone with raking sides and a flat roof. There were three chambers inside. In one the walls were sometimes richly decorated with paintings and had a low bench of stone in them on which incense was burnt. The second chamber was either closed, with holes pierced in the wall separating it from the first chamber, or entered through a narrow passage through which the fumes of the incense passed; this chamber contained the serdab or figure of the deceased. A vertical well-hole cut in the rock descended to a third chamber in which the mummy was laid.