Papyrus With Last Judgment Essay
What is Papyrus Papyrus is made from the papyrus reed that was found in the marshes alongside the River Nile. A smooth writing surface was created from thin strips that were closely pressed together and polished. This was one of the writing surfaces that were commonly used in ancient Egypt along with other surfaces such as metal, wood, and stone. Papyrus with Last Judgment is a very important piece and shows different scenes. It carries spells and information that was used by people of the higher ranks and the royal families.
Papyrus with Last Judgment from the Book of the Dead shed good light on the certain beliefs that the ancient Egyptians had regarding life after death. The collection of texts and other objects, as well as around about 200 spells from The Book of the Dead, were meant to help the dead prepare for an afterlife. The ancient Egyptians believed that the spells would help the dead to face the dangers in the netherworld (Ancient Egyptian Book of the Dead).
The Papyrus from The Book of the Dead shows that the Egyptians in the ancient times were good with their use and expression of art. The Egyptians believed that the dead had an afterlife, and this is why those spells and illustrations were made to give the dead person the knowledge to cross the unknown dangers of the netherworld safely. The journey for the dead is filled with hostile creatures. Papyrus with Last Judgment shows the critical step of ‘weighing of the heart’ that would allow the dead to move on into the afterlife.
The papyrus illustration
The papyrus has faded over the years. After all, the papyrus has been in the tomb for more than 3400 years. Still, the white color of the mummy wrappings and the green color used for the vegetation can be still seen. The Nile was flowing under the throne still carries the blue tint. There are multiple scenes in the papyrus from left to right. The Book of the Dead was buried in the tomb with the dead, and remained like that, untouched for many years. As Egypt's climate was dry, the papyrus lasted a long time and did not rot. The papyrus is still in a remarkably good condition (Aha, Anubis, and DIonysia).
The different scenes in the papyrus
There are different scenes in the Papyrus from The Book of the Dead. When one looks at the top scroll, it shows Hunefer pleading his case before the gods as to why he needs an immortal place after death and about the good and righteous life he had lived. The lower scene shows the whole procedure of how the dead can pass through the kingdom of eternal happiness.
If one looks at the first scenes, the jackal-headed god, Anubis, is shown leading Hu-nefer, who is dressed in long white robes for the judgment. Anubis is monitoring the judgment scales, where we see a pot that is Hunefer's heart that is being weighed against the feather. The ancient Egyptians believed that the heart was the main seat of emotions. It was responsible for the character of the individual and influenced the kind of life he leads. According to the Egyptians, if the heart is out of balance with the feather of the Truth, the dead would get consumed by a ferocious beast that can be seen in the Papyrus. The strange beast is seen as part-lion, part-hippopotamus, and part-crocodile. Anubis is seen to lead Hunefer to the Underworld the Hall of Double Justice in the Papyrus with Last Judgment (Page from the Book of the Dead of Hunefer).
Going on to the next scene, one finds Anubis weighing Hu-nefer's heart against the feather while Thoth the god of scribes, is monitoring the results and recording them. The Ibis-headed God, after looking at the results on his tablet, will decide if Hunefer can pass the test. If Hunefer passes the test, he will be allowed to enter the shrine of Osiris. However, if Hunefer fails the test, he will get devoured by demon creature who is sitting there, waiting for the results. He will devour Hunefer if his heart is not found to be pure (Aha, Anubis and DIonysia).
Anubis adjusts the balance beam that carries the dead man’s heart in one pan and other carrying feather. If the two pans fail to balance, Ammit the Devourer will eat up Hunefer. However, one can see in the Papyrus that the pans are in perfect equilibrium, and it means that Hunefer has passed the test. He wall thus get taken to the kingdom of Osiris and live a life of eternal happiness.
Osiris is shown as a mummy, and his skin is green and he is wrapped up in white bandages. He was the first to get mummified and made immortal. He is now safe in his shrine as his throne floats upon the Heavenly Nile, and the lotus carries four sons of Horus. Now he awaits his son to come from the earth. He is shown sitting under a canopy, with his sisters Isis and Nephthys.
The top bar just above the scene shows Hu-nefer revering and making some offerings to the sitting gods. He is shown swearing that he has not sinned, and his heart is pure. The thirteen judges are led by the hawk-headed Horus wearing the solar disk.
What is remarkable about the Papyrus with Last Judgment is that it offers step by step portrayal of the complicated beliefs of the ancient Egyptians. It shows how ones moral life decides the life of the dead in the afterlife. Looking at the ancient times, the two cultures who document this idea were the Egyptians and the Hebrews. The surviving papyrus offers a depiction of different religious texts by means of their illustrations. The Book of the Dead was most written in hieratic script on a papyrus scroll, and illustrated with monographs that displayed the dead and their journey into the afterlife.
Aha, Anubis, and DIonysia Xanthippos. "Weighing Hunefer's Heart & Presenting Him to Osiris." Ancientworlds.net. AncientWorlds LLC, 2013. Web. <http://www.ancientworlds.net/aw/Post/1202848>.
"Ancient Egyptian Book Of The Dead." Journey through the Afterlife 1.1 (2011): 1-23. Print.
"Page from the Book of the Dead of Hunefer." Britishmuseum.org. Trustees of the British Museum, 2015. Web.
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