preview

Illustrating the Gateway to the Egyptian Afterlife

Satisfactory Essays
The Egyptians are largely known for their appreciation for the afterlife. For the most part Egyptians’ live their daily lives in hope for divination in the next world. Only the wealthy were guaranteed the luxury of possessing every possible necessity that would ensure a happy afterlife. This symbolism is represented on the Mummy Case Lid of a man named Nebnetcheru, a priest with the title of the God’s Father of Amun at Karnak Temple. This Egyptian case lid dates back to 1075-945 BCE. Made out of wood, catronnage, pigment, and specks of gold this case lid was designated for a man of wealth. The illustrations on this case lid are what make it overall significant. The decoration of the Mummy Case Lid that covered Nebnetcheru mummified body portray all things necessary for the dead to live a life of luxury and ease in the afterlife.
A unique form of stylization is used on Ancient Egyptian illustrations. These illustrations often tell a narrative of sorts, relating to the deceased and their voyage into the afterlife. The separation of the narrative into distinctive registers is a signature to Ancient Egyptian art. Within these registers repetitive narration is often used in order to clearly display the actions represented. For instance on Nebnetcheru’s Mummy Case Lid the deceased is pictured in multiple places in order to further suggest the multiple actions he will encounter in his afterlife. Since there are many figures pictured in this piece of art the Egyptian’s created a canon of proportions in order to designate the appropriate size for these figures. Based on the hierarchy of scale the figures that were deemed divine were enlarged compared to the average persona. This significant separation allows the viewer to differentia...

... middle of paper ...

...the Gods’ help the deceased would have no chance of encountering the afterlife they believed they deserved. Explaining why on Nebnetcheru’s Case Lid incorporated a multitude of Gods and Goddesses in the illustrations in order to assist him on his journey in the next world. With each God’s individual strength Nebnetcheru is believed to be able to live a prosperous life in the netherworld as long as he continues to worship the Gods supporting him.

Works Cited

Meskell, Lynn. 2000. "Cycles of life and death: narrative homology and archaeological realities." World Archaeology 31, no. 3: 423-441.
Penn Museum. Museum label for Mummy Case Lid. Philadelphia, PA, accessed 25
April 2014.
Roberson, Joshua. 2008. "The Rebirth of the Sun (Cover story)." Expedition 50, no. 2: 14-25.
Shaw, Ian . Ancient Egypt: A Very Short Introduction. Oxford: Oxford University
Press, 2004.
Get Access