• London exhibition sheds light on ancient Egyptians' relationship with death

    2010-11-03

    A new exhibition at the British Museum will focus on the Egyptian Book of the Dead and attempt to shed light on how the ancient civilization viewed the afterlife.

    According to the Associated Press, the Book of the Dead was essentially a guidebook for the transition from life to the afterlife. The exhibition will enlighten visitors about the book and ancient Egyptian beliefs regarding the afterlife in general.

    Egyptians believed that after death, the soul underwent a series of spiritual tests, culminating in an episode in which the deceased's heart was put on a scale with a feather, and if the feather was lighter, the heart was presumed to be weighed down with sin and its owner punished.

    The many ways Egyptians tried to avoid this fate included printing prayers from the Book of the Dead on personalized scrolls and being buried with them, producing ornate funeral masks in anticipation of death, and buying a wide variety of supposedly protective amulets. 

    In this aspect, the exhibition will highlight both the Egyptian views of the afterlife and their knack for commerce. The exhibition will illustrate the thriving industry of talismans, scrolls and amulets that arose from Egyptians trying to buy their way into a pleasant afterlife.

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