False doors in Ancient Egypt evolved from “palace façades” of mastabas in the Early Dynastic Period. From the beginning, these niches were paneled—and served as locales for the living to make offerings to the deceased. As time progressed, door jambs were added, hence the term “false door”. Eventually, inscriptions were carved into these tomb features—occasionally alongside an image of the deceased receiving gifts.
Pictured above are two Old Kingdom doors. The top image features Ptahsepses’ (5th Dyn.) false door from Saqqara. It is a particularly stunning example, and contains a lengthy listing of Ptahsepses’ titles; which, unsurprisingly, includes “High Priest of Ptah”. Below, we have a traditional archetype of a false door belonging to a minor official. It also dates to the Old Kingdom (but 6th Dyn.), and belonged to a scribe and supervisor of priests, Neferseshemkhufu.