Papyrus With Last Judgment From The Book Of The Dead Essay Examples
There were certain beliefs about the afterlife among the ancient Egyptians and the Book of the Dead helps one to understand as to what they thought would life after death. Papyrus with Last Judgment, as well as other collection of texts, and associated objects helps one to explore ancient Egyptian beliefs. There is a collection of about 200 spells from The Book of the Dead to help prepare for an afterlife. These spells were believed help one face to face dangers in the netherworld by the ancient Egyptians (Ancient Egyptian Book of the Dead).
Belief of the ancient Egyptians
The ancient Egyptians understood that the dead person would need them for the afterlife. The spells and illustrations would give the dead person the power and knowledge to cross the dangers of the netherworld safely. Every ancient Egyptian spoke of an eternal life which was the ultimate goal. The journey through the netherworld is filled with the gods and hostile creatures, and the critical ‘weighing of the heart’ judgment, as shown in the Papyrus with Last Judgment, would help decide if the dead was allowed into the afterlife (Ancient Egyptian Book Of The Dead).
Describing the Papyrus
Papyrus with Last Judgment is one of the fine examples from the illustrations of the Book of the Dead. There are spells and illustrations written on a papyrus roll that was put on a hollow statue or wrapped within the mummy wrappings. Read left to right, one can see Anubis bringing Hunefer into the judgment area and the judgment scales getting monitored by Anubis. The pot represents Hunefer's heart and is weight against feather, which stands for symbol of Maat. According to the ancient Egyptians, the heart was the main center of emotions and defined the character in an individual. Egyptians believed that if the heart was out of balance with the feather, the dead was fated to remain non-existence and was devoured by a ferocious strange beast. The beast can be seen in the Papyrus with Last Judgment as part-hippopotamus, part-lion and part-crocodile (Page from the Book of the Dead of Hunefer)
Osiris is seated under a canopy along with his sisters Nephthys and Isis. At the top, one can see the row of deities who are being admired by Hunefer. Hunefer is shown to the right bought by his son Horus, in the presence of Osiris (Page from the Book of the Dead of Hunefer).
In the panel, Hunifer is seen pleading his case before thirteen of the judges, and swears that he has committed no sin and is pure. The judges are led by the hawk-headed Horus who is wearing the solar disk. The painting predicts good outcome as the judges are shown holding life-giving ankhs in place of death-dealing swords (Aha, Anubis, and DIonysia).
Osiris, sits in an immense rooming his white mummy wrappings and was the first to be mummified and made immortal. He awaits his son, Horus to come from earth. Osiris is safe in his shrine and is guarded by coiled cobras overhead and his throne floats upon the Heavenly Nile. A lotus carrying four sons of Horus protect Osiris and the dead man (Aha, Anubis, and DIonysia).
Matt, goddess of Truth and Justice stands atop an enormous scale in the center of the hall. The hybrid muster is all ready to devour the hearts of the guilty. There are forty-two divine judges that correspond to a province of Egypt and each is dressed in their winding-sheets, and hold a sharp-edged sword. While some of these judges carry human heads, other carry heads of animals (Aha, Anubis, and DIonysia).
The story in the Papyrus
The jackal-headed Anubis, the instrumentalist of the dead to the Underworld is seen to the left Anubis. He leads the dead to the Underworld the Hall of Double Justice. He is the Lord of the Mummy Wrappings and has created funeral rites to mummify the dismembered body. In the Papyrus with Last Judgment, he is seen to lead Hunefer. His heart will get weighed against the feather of Maat, while Thoth, the Ibis-headed god is prepared to take the results on his tablet. Once Hunefer passes the test, he will be led to the shrine of Osiris by the hawk-headed god
Horus (Aha, Anubis, and DIonysia).
In the scene where the heart is weighed, Anubis is shown adjusting the balance beam, with one pan carrying the dead man’s heart and the other carrying feather, the symbol of truth and justice. Thoth is verifying the weight and writing the results on the stone tablet before announcing them to Osiris. If the heart sinks and the two pans fail to balance, the dead would be eaten by Ammit the Devourer. However, as one sees that the pans of the balance are in faultless equilibrium, Hunifer will be taken by Horus to meet Osiris, so as to be judged. Once he is justified, the dead man will live in the kingdom of Osiris, leading a life of eternal happiness (Aha, Anubis, and DIonysia).
The colors of papyrus illustration of Hunefer's Last Judgment have faded over the years, after being in the tomb for more than 3400 years. One can notice the green color of the skin of the vegetation god Osiris and his white mummy wrappings. The Heavenly Nile flowing below his throne is tinted blue. The water lily rising to support the four sons is blue in color (Aha, Anubis, and DIonysia). Papyrus with Last Judgment from The Book of the Dead shows that the ancient Egyptians were good with their expression of thoughts and how they used art to describe what they felt.
The papyrus is made of reed that grows in the Nile delta and it was made into a paper like substance during those ancient times. It was perhaps one of the single most important surfaces to write upon then. Papyrus with Last Judgment is a very important piece that carried spells and information to be used by the dead and was meant for the royal families and people of higher ranks. The top part of scroll shows Hunefer pleading with the deities about the good life he led and why he needs an immortal place after death, while the scene below shows the whole process that the dead has to pass through before he can enter the kingdom of eternal happiness.
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. <http://www.britishmuseum.org/explore/highlights/highlight_objects/aes/p/page_from_the_book_of_the_dead.aspx
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