Book of the Dead for the Priest of Bastet, Djoser

Artefact Details

Gallery number: 29 – Upper Floor Period: Ptolemaic Period Place of discovery: Saqqara Size: Height: 35 cm, Width: 90 cm Material: Papyrus

This papyrus was part of a funerary papyrus of Djoser, a priest of the goddesses Bastet, the lady of Memphis. It showing the Spell 125 from the Book of the Dead, better known as the Judgment of Osiris or The Weighing of the Heart. The goddess Maat, embodiments of the proper order of the Egyptian cosmos, lead the deceased into the hall of Judgment before the balance and his heart is weighed opposite the feather of the goddess Maat, embodiment of cosmic order and ethical behavior. To the left, Osiris, God of the underworld, sits on a throne inside a small kiosk and presides over the scene. He wears the white crown of Upper Egypt, and a curved beard that identifies him as divine. before him, the offering table and the ibis-headed god Thoth, holding scribal equipment in one hand to record the result of the trial.

At the culmination of this ceremony, the heart, seen as the center of intelligence and emotion, was weighed against a squatting figure of the goddess Maat by the jackal-headed god of embalming, Anubis. If the scales balanced, Osiris accepted the deceased into his company and granted him eternal life. If not, the heart would be eaten by the monster Ammut (the Devourer), shown as a hippopotamus with a crocodile head, and the person would die forever.