Righteousness, Harmony, And Order In Ancient Egyptian Art

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The ancient Egyptian concept of Ma’at includes aspects and ideas of ‘righteousness’, ‘harmony’, and ‘order’. In Egyptian culture, Ma’at is used in a variety of ways. As a deity, Ma’at is the goddess of truth and universal order in the world. In the grand scheme of things, Ma’at was also seen as the eternal struggle between the forces of harmony and balance with chaos and disorder. On a social scale, Ma’at represented a harmonious cooperation between people.
Ma’at as a recurring theme in Egyptian art
“Egyptian art comes almost exclusively from tombs and temples. Such art was not intended as decoration; rather, it was created to replicate the living world, to benefit or honor the dead. Perhaps for that reason, the Egyptians found a unique
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The books were laid with the mummified bodies and depicted a ‘last judgment’.
“A painted papyrus scroll from the Book of the Dead brings to life the last judgment itself: the enthroned Osiris, god of the underworld (far right) and his wife Isis (far left) oversee the ceremony in which the heart of the deceased Princess Entiu-ny is weighed against the figure of Truth (Figure 2.14). Having made her testimony, the princess watches as the jackal-headed god of death, Anubis, prepares her heart for the ordeal.” (Fiero 61).
This ‘last judgment’ shows the heart of one of the deceased being weighed against an ostrich feather, which was the physical depiction of Ma’at. Balancing one’s heart with the Ostrich feather was the representation of the morality and justice of the deceased, and if they passed the last judgment they would be allowed into the afterlife.
The presence of Ma’at was paramount to the Egyptian people in all parts of their lives. As an idea and a concept, Ma’at was the standard by which the Egyptians lived and conducted themselves. As a goddess, it was how the Egyptians viewed the world, in a state of order versus chaos. In art, as artistic pieces had a canon to adhere to. To conclude, Ancient Egypt, and our understanding of it would be very different if it were not for
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