UK mu­seum to fo­cus on Egyp­tian af­ter­life

Weekend Argus (Saturday Edition) - - LIFE -

LONDON: Pa­pyri from the An­cient Egyp­tian Book of the Dead, a se­ries of spells de­signed to help guide the dead through the af­ter­life, will be at the cen­tre of a new show at the Bri­tish Mu­seum in Novem­ber.

The star item is likely to be the Green­field Pa­pyrus, which the London mu­seum called the world’s long­est Book of the Dead at 37 me­tres. It has never been shown pub­licly in its en­tirety be­fore.

Jour­ney Through The Af­ter­life: An­cient Egypt Book of the Dead, spon­sored by BP, will run from Novem­ber 4 to March 6 in the mu­seum’s cen­tral Read­ing Room, used for a se­ries of suc­cess­ful block­buster ex­hi­bi­tions in re­cent years.

The “book”, which is not a sin­gle text but a com­pi­la­tion of spells, was used be­tween around 1600 BC and 100 AD and ex­plains much about an­cient Egypt’s com­plex be­lief sys­tems where death and the af­ter­life were a cen­tral fo­cus.

“Though the name may be fa­mil­iar to­day, the wealth of mag­i­cal im­ages and texts is ac­tu­ally much richer than is gen­er­ally known,” the mu­seum said.

“Beau­ti­fully coloured il­lus­tra­tions graph­i­cally show the fields and rivers of the Nether­world, the gods and demons whom the de­ceased would meet, and the crit­i­cal ‘weigh­ing of the heart’ rit­ual”.

Ac­cord­ing to their be­liefs, that judg­ment would de­ter­mine whether the soul was ad­mit­ted into the af­ter­life or con­demned to de­struc­tion at the hands of the mon­strous “Devourer”.

The mu­seum will draw on its “un­par­al­leled” Book of the Dead pa­pyri and dis­play works from other ma­jor col­lec­tions. Also on show will be painted coffins, gilded masks, jew­ellery, tomb fig­urines and mummy trap­pings. – Reuters

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