Egyptian Art

Papyrus Paintings depicting Egyptian Ceremonies

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Hand Painted Papyrus of the Weighing of the Heart Ceremony
Hand Painted Papyrus of the Weighing of the Heart Ceremony Hand painted papyrus of the Final Judgement Hand Painted Papyrus of the Judgement Scene

The ancient Egyptians believed that, when they died, they would be judged on their behaviour during their lifetime before they could be granted a place in the Afterlife. This judgement ceremony was called the Weighing of the Heart. The ceremony was believed to have been performed in front of Osiris, the chief god of the dead and the Afterlife, and a tribunal of 42 dieties. A giant scale would weigh the deceased's heart against the principle of truth and justice (maat), represented by a feather, the symbol of the goddess of truth, order and justice, Maat. If the heart balanced against the feather then the deceased would be granted a place in the Fields of Hetep and Iaru. If it was heavy with the weight of wrongdoings, the balance would sink, and the heart would be grabbed and devoured by a terrifying beast that sat ready and waiting by the scales. This beast was Ammit ('the gobbler'), a composite animal with the head of a crocodile, the front legs and body of a lion or leopard and the back legs of a hippopotamus. Once the heart was devoured, the deceased would cease to exist - an idea which terrified the ancient Egyptians.

 

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