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Ancient Egypt: Death and the Afterlife

What would you take with you? Afterlife Treasures

The Ancient Egyptians believed that the afterlife would be perfect. When they entered the afterlife, they wanted to take treasures from their life with them, and small amulets (like lucky charms) to keep them safe.

 

Treasure and Jewellery

Important things from someone's life would be put in their tomb. For example, the Ancient Egyptians had lots of different types of jewellery. This often looked beautiful and decorative, but also had symbols thought to bring the wearer good fortune – like lucky charm bracelets.


Jewellery materials were chosen for a reason. The blue coloured lapis lazuli looked like the bright blue of the heavens (skies) and was more precious than all other metals except for gold and silver. Turquoise was linked with youth and rebirth. It was used in the necklace pictured above.

Gold was the most precious metal, as Ancient Egyptians believed it to be the flesh of their Sun God Ra.  

  • Amulets
    Amulets were wrapped in the layers of bandages. They were like lucky charms to protect the deceased person in the afterlife.

    Scarab beetle amulets were very special as they were a symbol of rebirth and regeneration. They were usually placed over the heart to protect the heart during the ‘weighing of the heart’ ceremony, where the god Anubis checks whether or not an individual had led a good life.

    Other popular amulets included the wedjat, or the 'Eye of Horus', which was thought to protect the mummy against bad spirits.  

  • Shabti:
    Shabti were small statues of slaves or soldiers who were meant to protect the mummy in the afterlife. Often they were turquoise in colour. 

Glossary:

Amulet - a type of charm meant to protect the person wearing it

Deceased - dead person or animal

Decorative - something meant to look nice

Heavens - the skies

Rebirth - being born again; having a new life

Regeneration - growing again after being in a poor state


View other relevant My Learning resources or see the teachers' notes page for discussion and activity ideas. 


Scroll down for a list of links and resources on this topic.




 
Document icon Learning article provided by: Leeds City Museum | 

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