Egyptian polychrome wooden sarcophagus lid with scenes from the Book of the Dead, Ptolemaic Period, Ptolemaic period, 323-30 BC

This sarcophagus lid is the anthropomorphic representation of the deceased, although it is not a faithful portrait of the person represented, but rather an idealized image of him. The character has a wig and both sides of it are represented two Egyptian goddesses, Isis and Nephthys. His chest is protected by a necklace that reaches the neck and culminates on each side with the representation of the god Horus in the form of a hawk. The rest of the cover is divided into horizontal registers that contain narrative scenes taken from the Book of the Dead, the Egyptian document that explained how the mummification ritual had to be done and the phases that the deceased had to go through until reaching eternal peace in the Beyond. In one of the registers we find represented the scene of the weighing of the heart: it was a ritual presided over by the god Osiris in which the heart extracted from the deceased was weighed on a scale. If the heart weighed more than a feather, it was considered impure at heart, while if it weighed less, it was considered pure at heart. If the deceased had an impure heart, he would be eaten by a monster with the body of a crocodile and spikes on its back, which is represented in the central part of the register. In the following register, the mummification ceremony of the body of the deceased is represented, by which the organs were removed and the ointments that would ensure the preservation of the body were applied. The jackal-headed god Anubis is presiding over this ritual. Finally, the lower register shows the solar boat with a series of characters, being the vehicle in charge of transporting the deceased with a pure heart to eternal life.


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