A Review of Judgment of Hunefer Before Osiris

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Submitted By Klanee216
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A Review of Judgment of Hunefer Before Osiris
By K. Becerra

The Egyptian Book of the Dead ignited the imagination of Hollywood moviemakers in the early 1990’s, leading to movies with the book being a critical and fearful aspect of the movies. In some representations, the book raised zombies for the pharaoh’s of Egypt and instilled fear in their subjects. Hollywood misinterpreted the purpose, form and function of this historical scroll of ancient Egypt. In this essay, we will examine the true purpose and artistic design elements of this ancient document.

The afterlife weighed heavily on the minds of the ancient Egyptians. Their obsession with death and immortality led to the creation of stunning architecture and artwork, although esthetically pleasing these historical artifacts were created to assist the dead in their afterlife. In an effort to prepare for the afterlife scrolls, later called the book of the dead, were placed next to the bodies of the Egyptian mummies. These scrolls contained spells that would assist the deceased in navigating the perils of the afterlife. Today archeologists have uncovered more than 25,000 copies of the book of the dead, the oldest text dating from 15000 B.C.E. and the most recent dating in the fourth century A.D.

The Judgment of Hunefer Before Osiris, A famous example of a Book of the Dead created in the Nineteenth Dynasty, c. 1285 BCE. The scroll was painted on papyrus and standing at a height of 39.8cm. According to Stokstad, this illustration depicts,

“Three successive stages in (Hunefer’s) induction into the after life. At the left, Anubis leads him by the hand to the spot where he will weigh his heart, contained in a tiny jar, against the “ feather of Truth.” Hunefer passes the test, and Horus, on the right, presents him to the enthroned Osiris, who floats on a lake of Natron. Behind the throne, the goddess…...

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