Anthropomorphic coffin of the priest Amenemhat. The final judgment

Ataúd de Amenemhat Pulse para ampliar Ataúd de Amenemhat. Sala 34, vitrina 34.8

The Nile: Egypt and NubiaSalto de línea

Egyptians believed that having a sarcophagus was important because it protected the mummy, thereby ensuring its survival. These beautiful painted boxes did not just provide physical protection for the corpse; their colourful pictures and hieroglyphics kept the deceased safe on the journey to the afterlife and eased his path through the netherworld with the formulas, prayers.

In their vision of the cosmos, the Egyptians believed that their fate in the afterlife depended on whether or not their actions on earth had helped to maintain the cosmic order by practising or promoting social justice, and that they would be judged accordingly after death. The cosmic order was established at the moment of creation, illustrated here by an image of the goddess of heaven separated from the god of earth by the upraised arms of the god of the air. Out of the primeval chaos, creation brought order and balance, which the Egyptians called Maat and represented as a delicate feather. Maat governed life in Egypt and human actions. After death, every Egyptian would be held accountable for his/her deeds.

On this sarcophagus, the goddess of the West leads the dead man to be judged by Osiris. In his presence, the gods weigh the deceased’s heart against Maat,, on a set of scales. If the heart weighed more than the feather, indicating that the dead man’s actions were unjustified, it would be consumed by the devourer of hearts and doomed to eternal death. However, if the scales were evenly balanced, the deceased would be deemed “true of voice” and live forever.