The romantic element increased, solemn funereal statues show husband and wife hand in hand; and it culminated under Akhenaton, who is seen kissing his wife in the chariot, or dancing her on his knee.
These latter, however, tend to be funereal rather than uplifting.
A number of chapters contained in the later recensions are already found on the sarcophagi of the Middle Kingdom, together with a host of funereal texts not usually reckoned as belonging to the Book of the Dead; these have been published by Lepsius and Lacau.
In proportion as the prosperity of the land increased, and the advance of civilization afforded the technical means, so did these primitive burials give place to a more lavish funereal equipment.
The explanation of this would seem to lie in the fact that the relics are in most cases the paraphernalia of tombs, the funereal vessels and vases, and iron being considered an impure metal by the ancient Egyptians it was never used in their manufacture of these or for any religious purposes.